The way we taught students in the past simply does not prepare
them for the higher demands of college and careers today and in the
future. Your school and schools throughout the country are working to
improve teaching and learning to ensure that all children will graduate
high school with the skills they need to be successful.
In English language arts and literacy, this means three major changes.
Students will continue reading and writing. But in addition to stories
and literature, they will read more texts that provide facts and
background knowledge in areas including science and social studies.
They will read more challenging texts and be asked more questions
that will require them to refer back to what they have read. There will
also be an increased emphasis on building a strong vocabulary so that
students can read and understand challenging material.
America’s schools are working to provide higher quality instruction
than ever before.
What your child will be learning in grade three English language arts and literacy
In grade three, students will build important reading, writing, speaking,
and listening skills. They will think, talk, and write about what they read
in a variety of articles, books, and other texts. In their writing, students
will pay more attention to organizing information, developing ideas, and
supporting these ideas with facts, details, and reasons. Activities in these
areas will include:
• Reading a wide range of stories and describing how a story teaches a
• Describing characters in a story and how their actions contributed to
• Reading texts about history, social studies, or science and answering
questions about what they learned
• Referring to information from illustrations such as maps or pictures as
well as the words in a text to support their answers
• Learning the rules of spoken and written English
• Learning and using new words, including words related to specific
subjects (such as science words)
• Participating in class discussions by listening, asking questions, sharing
ideas, and building on the ideas of others
• Giving a class presentation on a topic or telling a story using relevant
facts and details and speaking clearly
• Writing stories with dialogue and descriptions of character’s actions,
thoughts, and feelings
• Gathering information from books, articles, and online sources to
build understanding of a topic
• Writing research or opinion papers over extended periods of tim3
In grade three, students will read stories, plays, and poems. Additionally, they will
read to learn information about history, the world, science, and other areas. Here are
just a few examples of how your child will develop important reading skills across
As they progress through grade levels, students will be asked more questions that require
them to cite details or information from increasingly challenging texts. This will encourage
them to become observant and analytical readers.
Grade Three Reading
• Students ask and answer
questions about what they read
by referring directly to parts of
• Students use information gained
from images or illustrations.
Reading for information
Grade Two Reading
• Students ask and answer
such questions as who, what,
where, when, why, and how to
demonstrate understanding of
key details in a text.
• Students explain how specific
images or illustrations (such as
a diagram of how a machine
works) are useful.
Helping your child
learn outside of school
1. Provide time and space for your child to read independently. This
time should be free from distractions such as television.
2. Ask your child what topics, events, or activities he or she likes. Then
look for books, magazines, or other materials about those topics that
would motivate your child to read.
3. It is also helpful when your child sees other people reading at home.
You could share what you have read.
4. Start a family book club. Let different members of the family pick the
book. This could be a good way to enjoy quality family time while
experiencing the joy of reading together!
5. Be sure your child has a library card. Children should select books
they are interested in to develop a passion for reading. Many libraries
have book clubs and family activities that make reading fun for the
6. Use technology to help build your child’s interest in reading. There
are several websites where students can read books or articles
online. The computer will help with words the student cannot
read independently. Libraries also have computers students can
use to access those sites. Feel free to ask a librarian or teacher for
For more information on the Common Core State Standards for English
Language Arts and Literacy, go to http://www.corestandards.org/thestandards/