Hopefully, by the time your child begins the third grade, she’s enjoying reading books. As with all the early elementary ages, however, third graders read on different levels; some may still be struggling with de-coding words while others may be reading chapter books or longer works independently. If you find that your child still needs extra help with reading, don’t worry; just continue with phonics instruction at a steady and consistent pace, working on reading skills each day. Your goal is not to teach your child to learn to read quickly, but to learn to love reading.
As your child continues to practice her phonics lessons, provide her with interesting books that will help her move to the next level of independent reading. If she’s still working with the early readers, provide her with one level at a time until she’s proficient in each one. By the time she finishes the third grade, you’ll want her to be able to read fluently both aloud and silently. You’ll also want her to be able to decode regular multi-syllable words, correct herself when reading on reveals that she made an error, and identify the author’s message in a story.
Whether or not your child is already a fluent reader, you can offer her a variety of books to choose from. Almost all of these can be found in your local library. Some of the books you might offer your third grader include:
• The Accidental Detectives series by Sigmund Brouwer
• The American Girl Series
• The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler
• My Father’s Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett
• Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
• Once Upon America series
• Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie! by Peter and Connie Roop
• Thee, Hannah! and Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite DeAngeli
• Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling
• Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
• Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
• The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
• Sarah, Plain and Tall by Partricia MacLachlan
• Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
• Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
• Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
• Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol
• Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
• Ramona Quimbley, by Beverly Cleary
• The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
• The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
And don’t forget about the nonfiction section! Your third grader might also enjoy reading:
• The Childhood of Famous Americans series, including those by Augusta Stevenson
• Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Bulla
• 1620: The Year of the Pilgrim by Genevieve Foster
• And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? The Cabin Faced West, Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? and other titles by Jean Fritz
• Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr and Don Bolognese
• The Big Dipper and You by E.C. Krupp
• The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole
• Steven Caney’s Invention Book by Steven Caney
• The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
The third grade is also a good time for your student to learn about the literature she is reading. Introduce her to the terms “fiction” and “nonfiction,” and as she chooses a book to read, help her identify which category it falls into. You can then teach her about the various genres, helping her to recognize books within each one. She should also know how to use a table of contents, glossary, and index to find a particular section or information in the book.
Be sure to set aside time each day for silent reading. You might begin with just fifteen minutes a day after lunch or in the afternoon, or you might set aside time in the evening instead of watching television. As your third grader adjusts, extend the time to twenty or thirty minutes. She might even want to read as long as sixty minutes. It’s a good idea to read a book of your own during that time as well; you’ll want to show by example that reading is a valuable use of time.
As you encourage your child to read independently, however, don’t forget to sit down and read aloud together. Children of any age loved to be read to, and it’s an easy way to share time together as a family. You might want to read to them at the breakfast or lunch table, or you might snuggle together on the sofa just before bed. As you read, make it a fun experience; try changing your voice to depict the different characters or moods in the story. Reading is an adventure, and with you setting the example, your third grader will be on her way.
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo by sean <cleverCl@i®ê>