Parents | Raising readers & learners.

Home of Parent & Child Magazine

Preparing for 3rd Grade

Discover what your child will learn in 3rd grade reading, writing, math, and more.

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Cognitive Skills
Language Arts

Expert's Pick

Stuart Goes to School
Stuart Goes to School
by Sara Pennypacker Illustrated by Martin Matje
Learn More

By the 3rd grade, children have spent two years mastering reading and doing basic math computations. In 3rd grade, they are able to branch out in their studies and handle more complex material. Prepare for September by looking over the following skills that will ensure that your child is ready for hands-on science experiments, more challenging math problems, and higher-level reading assignments.
Skills Acquired During 3rd Grade
As with every passing grade level, the work in 3rd grade becomes more challenging, which can initially intimidate any 8 year old. But with focus, motivation to learn, and attentiveness to the material, your child can make major strides in the following subjects:
Preparing for 3rd Grade Reading

Your child will:

  • Explore fables, legends, myths, poems, and plays as supplements to fiction and nonfiction reading
  • Progress as an independent reader and work up to an appropriate comprehension level
  • Read in groups, alternating paragraphs out loud, to build fluency and vocabulary
  • Read chapter books that can be either applied to school or just for fun
  • Use a dictionary to check the accuracy of the spelling, definition, and pronunciation of a word
  • Look up information in a book by using a table of contents, glossary, or index

Preparing for 3rd Grade Writing and Verbal Communication

Your child will:

  • Learn to write in cursive (longhand)
  • Write in paragraph form, using transitions
  • Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar (e.g., verb tenses must agree in sentences)
  • Use reference books, such as the thesaurus, to make more interesting word choices
  • Master the writing process: pre-write, outline, draft, revise, edit, and polish
  • Use outlines to write a story or book report that has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Write in a variety of styles, including informative, creative, and persuasive writing
  • Keep a journal to practice personal writing and handwriting skills
  • Understand written instructions and follow them independently
  • Listen actively to a speaker in the classroom, whether that is the teacher or a fellow student
  • Answer questions in complete sentences (for example, "I like to play on the monkey bars more than playing kickball because I like to climb," as opposed to "Because I like to climb," or simply "Because.")


Your child will:

  • Add and subtract numbers to 10,000
  • Memorize the multiplication table
  • Multiply multi-digit numbers by a single-digit number
  • Divide multi-digit numbers by a single-digit number
  • Identify written and spoken numbers up to 100,000
  • Explain in words how a math problem was solved
  • Use measuring tools to calculate volume, area, length, and height
  • Analyze and graph data (e.g., collecting and charting the birthdays of all the boys and girls in class to determine how many boys were born in April)
  • Work with simple fractions and decimals
  • Round to the nearest whole number
  • Predict patterns in shapes and numbers
  • Tell time to the nearest minute
  • Relate number problems to everyday situations (e.g., using a budget to plan a party)


Your child will:

  • Learn with hands-on projects that illustrate the subject matter, such as maintaining a class greenhouse to show the development of plants and flowers
  • Identify rocks and minerals
  • Name the planets in the solar system and explore the galaxies, moons, stars, and meteors of outer space
  • Compare the human skeleton to animal skeletal systems
  • Track water cycles and study how they relate to the formation of clouds
  • Conduct experiments that test a hypothesis

Social Studies

Your child will:

  • Know how to read world maps; be able to find locations on the globe
  • Compare different parts of the United States (e.g., contrasting year-round climate of the various regions)
  • Learn the 50 states and their capitals
  • Study topics relating to American history, such as Native Americans, the journey of the Mayflower, pilgrims, and the first settlers

Find Just-Right Books

The Reading Toolkit