WELCOME TO THIRD GRADE!!!!!

Reading is critical to a child’s success. Fluency and comprehension go hand in hand and are necessary in order for students to be on grade level. At the beginning of the academic school year, third graders should read at a level 30. By the end of the year, students should achieve level 38.

Teachers use a wide variety of engaging and purposeful texts to build student comprehension. During the year, instruction is focused on fiction (realistic), literary non-fiction (biography/autobiography), poetry (narrative/lyrical/humorous), drama, expository (informational), procedural (how-to), fiction (fables, legends, myths, fantasies), and persuasive texts. Skills that are taught throughout the year include: inferring and drawing conclusions on the structure/elements/patterns of text, summarizing and sequencing, point of view, character relationships and changes, plot, theme, creating mental images/sensory language, graphic features, comparing and contrasting settings, cause and effect, main events/facts and supporting details, and author’s purpose.

Parents: you can also help improve your child’s reading fluency and comprehension by having them read daily, for at least 20 minutes. Afterward, ask them questions related to the reading. Why and how-do-you-know questions take your child’s comprehension to a higher level. Have them show you where they found the answer or text clues that guided them to their response. Remind them that using their background knowledge (what they already know from experience) helps them better understand the text.

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Writing

In third grade, we focus on teaching our students the differences in expository and narrative writing. We follow the Empowering Writer’s format of writing instruction and believe that modeling of concise and expressive writing is the key to generating great writing. This type of writing is daunting at the beginning but our students quickly learn to use the diamond structure for narrative writing which gives them a familiar framework and makes it easier for them to create great writing. They also become experts in using the expository pillar to build a strongly supported thesis statements. While we emphasize the structures of both types of writing we also urge our students to play with language and vocabulary. They love to introduce playful and unique beginnings to their writing pieces and generally learn that writing does not have to be laborious or boring. We hope that it becomes an outlet for expression and second nature to them in the coming years.

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Science is the art of asking questions and trying to discover answers. Throughout third grade we use scientific investigation and reasoning to learn new things or expand on concepts that have been previously taught. The year begins with us learning the basics of matter and then we work our way into force, motion and energy. Next on the agenda is earth science. We start with learning about the small substance that is soil, and then we travel all the way up to large mountains, other landforms, and how the earth’s surface is always changing. After learning about the rock we live on, we look to the sky to learn about space. However, home is where the heart is, and so we end our year of science with life science. We learn about plants and animals and what they do to survive our ever changing Earth.

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