Elementary readers experience a wide variety of books in their classrooms through mini-lessons, read alouds, book partnerships, and independent reading. Independent reading is a vital part of our reading experience - especially in fostering a love for reading. Our readers learn to select “just right books.” These books interest the child and offer the appropriate challenge to help build confidence and to become better and better readers. While individual readers develop as readers at differing rates, we do use grade-level standards to measure a child’s progress from year-to-year. Monitoring readers as they select books, as they read books and when they write about and discuss books helps teachers know how readers are progressing. In addition, teachers administer reading assessments such as the DRA2 and the SRI.
Please notice that literacy learning objectives, listed in italics, are aligned to our larger report card indicators, typed in bold. Each learning objective is accompanied by sample “I statements” that students can use in considering their progress as readers and writers.
Report Card Indicator: Accurately reads and understands grade level texts.In third grade, the world contained in books expands. Topics and themes go well beyond the reader’s personal experience, often requiring readers to take on diverse perspectives and consider challenging themes. In fiction, readers must keep track of and understand multiple characters and discern the importance of descriptive and figurative language in understanding the plot. Informational texts may be presented in a more difficult layout with denser format and often contain complex content-specific words. Report Card Indicator: Uses a variety of strategies to comprehend the literal meaning of a text.Third-graders ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
Third-graders work to understand the importance of the sequence of events, as well as cause and effect, when reading fiction or nonfiction.
- I preview a book title, cover, back blurb, and chapter titles so I can figure out the characters, the setting and the main storyline or plot. When reading nonfiction, I draw on details from the text and prior knowledge to add to a mental picture of the text when previewing.
- I use punctuation to steer reading. I use it to know when to pause, and I can do this with more complex texts now.
- When confused about the main ideas or how the information goes together, I reread, stopping after each chunk to review. I ask, “Is this a new topic?”
In third grade, readers determine the meaning of words and phrases, including content-specific words, as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
- I read to “experience the story.” I draw on earlier parts of the text to add to the details of the mental picture of the story.
- I read with real life, and what I already know about a character, in mind so that I can predict what the main character will do, say, and think. I can explain the basis of my prediction.
- I use mental models (box and bullets, timelines, diagrams) to organize and make sense of information.
Third-graders apply what they know about the parts of stories and poems, as well as text features in nonfiction, to better understand a text.
- When I try to figure out the meaning of a tricky word or phrase, I read around it and look for clues to what it might mean. I look inside of the word and use what I know about parts of words.
- I know that authors play with words, so I ask, “Could this mean something funny or special?”
- I try to accumulate new technical vocabulary as I read; I take risks in trying to use this new vocabulary when I write and talk about this topic.
Report Card Indicator: Reads for depth of understanding of a text’s themes, messages, or arguments. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate deep understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers
- I refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter and stanza; I describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
- When I preview the text, I pay special attention to text features like table of contents, headings, topic sentences, etc., to help the reader decide how the text will go.
- I know that previewing the text helps the reader organize the note-taking.
In third grade, readers work to determine the central message of a work of fiction or the determine the main idea a nonfiction text by recounting the key details of the text.
- A reader might form new ideas about the world, other people, or a topic. Use new ideas as a lens for rethinking or rereading.
- Realize that the author helps readers come to terms with the same ideas that a character comes to terms with. A good reader thinks, “What is it that the author wants me to think/feel?” and “Do I agree?”
- The reader develops his/her own ideas about the text related to values, the world, or the book. Ideas are grounded in text-based information and ideas - drawing on several parts of the text(s). The reader asks questions, “Could it be…?” The reader is not afraid to think in new ways.
Third-graders have important ideas of their own. While they read, they work on differentiating their own ideas from those of the author because they realize that point of view is significant.
- I wonder, “What is this story really about?” or “What is the author teaching me?” and come up with tentative ideas while reading and confirm these through important details in the text.
- When I finish a book, I can discuss what I know about the story and its story elements. I talk about the characters’ traits and wants and about important events. At the end of the story, I can say a few sentences about the big life lessons.
- I talk and write about information and ideas that hold parts of the text together. Usually, I talk about the relationship between cause and effect, about the things that happened first and next, or main ideas and examples. I may include the reasons for something or the kinds of something.
Third-graders realize that illustrations and words work together in a text and may reach beyond basic meaning.
- If a character is telling the story in an “I voice,” I ask, “Who is telling this story?” or “Who is the narrator?”
- If this is not in the first person, I ask, “Who is the main character?” or "Whose point of view am I hearing?”
- I notice when there is an obvious point of view from the text - like if the text is being told from the point of view of an animal or of a specific person.
Third-graders work to understand how the parts of a text work together to communicate an important idea.
- I explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).
- I use information gained from illustrations and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of a text.
Third-graders continue to understand how to compare and contrast books as they begin to read more and more sophisticated texts.
- I think about how the part is important to the whole story. I might think, “How is this particular setting important to the story?”
- I talk about how a part of a text fits with the content of the rest of the text. “This is more on the same topic or subtopic,” or “This just turned to a new topic or subtopic.”
- I talk about the order of events or steps, answering questions about what come before or after and about cause and effect.
- I can elaborate on why the author uses the craft techniques selected. I can say things like, “The author has made a comparison to help readers grasp an idea.”
Report Card Indicator: Reads aloud with fluency, which includes appropriate phrasing, expression, and rate.Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
- I compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series). When comparing and contrasting two texts (or the parts of a longer text), I identify similarities and differences in information and the treatment of topics - including craft techniques, focus, and perspective.
- When I read books in a text set or series, I can talk about how the major events across the two books are similar or different. I can also talk about how other story elements are partly the same or different.
- I can elaborate on why the author uses the craft techniques selected. I can say things like, “The author has chosen to use this image to help readers grasp an idea.”
- I read text with purpose and understanding.
- When reading fiction, I can read in in my head and aloud in ways that help my listeners and me understand the story.
- I read prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expressions on successive readings.
- I use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.