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Third grade: Helping your child with reading

One simple secret for helping your third grader with reading

GreatSchools Blog

By GreatSchools Staff

Third grade is the year kids are expected to go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? As if by spending enough days sitting at their desks, third graders will magically make the switch. For most kids, though, the change from learning how to read to reading to learn can be very difficult.


To help your child make this big change in reading, by all means, keep reading to him, and having him read aloud or by himself. But there’s one more way to help your child read to learn that may come as a surprise: Talk with him! Have conversations full of all kinds of words (he’s not a baby anymore, so don’t hold back on using big words conversations that build vocabulary than by focusing on decoding strategies.


So to make sure your child doesn’t fall behind when it comes to reading to learn: 1) Read challenging books aloud to him; 2) Use words he doesn’t know; 3) Talk about big topics like what’s going on in the world, history, or whatever he’s interested in, whether that’s sports or space rockets or animals.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

09/7/2011:
"This was very helpful and informative. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. "
09/7/2011:
"I have a Third grader. When he was in K and 1st the teachers seem to let him slid. Now he is having trouble in reading to the point that in the first 2 weeks they are thinking about sending him back to 2nd... I feel helpless. What can I do to help him? Any ideas? "
08/18/2011:
"I will be a third grade teacher this year for the first time, I totally agree with this artilcle. Very good information to pass on to my parents. Thanks "
07/25/2011:
"This article is reassuring and helpful. I have been talking with my grandaughter ever since she was born and now she's eight. We converse about a wide range of topics whenever we are togethter. I will definately start reading to her more often. "
04/15/2011:
"We do all of those things with him...but he still doesn't understand whats going on in the book. He can read, but thats all. He's not comprehending whats happening in the book. He's just reding words off the page. How do we get him to understand what he's reading?"
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