How to help my 3rd grader with reading

Reading Tips for Parents of Third Graders

By: Reading Rockets

Read about it, talk about it, and think about it! Find ways for yourchild to build understanding, the ultimate goal of learning how toread. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your childbecome a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. Seewhat works best for your child.

These tips for parents of third graders are also available to download and print:

Make books special

Turn reading into something special. Take your kids to the library, help them get their own library card, read with them, and buy them books as gifts. Have a favorite place for books in your home or, even better, put books everywhere.

Get them to read another one

Find ways to encourage your child to pick up another book. Introduce him or her to a series like The Boxcar Children or Harry Potter or to a second book by a favorite author, or ask the librarian for additional suggestions.

Crack open the dictionary

Let your child see you use a dictionary. Say, "Hmm, I'm not sure what that word means... I think I'll look it up."

Talk about what you see and do

Talk about everyday activities to build your child's background knowledge, which is crucial to listening and reading comprehension. Keep up a running patter, for example, while cooking together, visiting somewhere new, or after watching a TV show.

First drafts are rough

Encourage your child when writing. Remind him or her that writing involves several steps. No one does it perfectly the first time.

Different strokes for different folks

Read different types of books to expose your child to different types of writing. Some kids, especially boys, prefer nonfiction books.

Teach your child some “mind tricks”

Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help a child comprehend and remember.

“Are we there yet?”

Use the time spent in the car or bus for wordplay. Talk about how jam means something you put on toast as well as cars stuck in traffic. How many other homonyms can your child think of? When kids are highly familiar with the meaning of a word, they have less difficulty reading it.

Reading tips in other languages

A downloadable handout, for parents of babies, toddlers, and children in preschool to grade 3, is available in the following languages:

Reading tips for parents of…

Reading Rockets (2021)


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected]

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Finding Help | Reading Rockets

Children with reading difficulties benefit from the same thing all children benefit from — excellent reading instruction tailored to their needs. But sometimes kids who struggle need more.

Several people may be able to provide your child with extra help:

  • Classroom teachers

    Your child's teacher may be able to provide more intensive instruction

  • School specialists

    Specialists at your school — such as the reading specialist, speech/language pathologist, or special education teacher — may be able to provide extra assistance

  • Tutors

    The school, another organization, or private tutors may be able to provide your child practice with reading or more intensive help

  • Professionals in private practice

    Educational psychologists and other professionals in private practice may be able to provide an assessment, diagnosis, and/or a plan for helping your child

  • Reading clinics

    University and private reading clinics may be able to provide an assessment, diagnosis, and/or a plan for helping your child

Help from private tutors and others outside of the school may be very effective but also quite expensive. Some public school services, which are free, are only provided if a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, the most common of which is difficulty with language and reading.

If you suspect your child may have a learning disability (or ADHD), the best place to begin seeking help is your child's school. Public schools have professionals trained to make a diagnosis. They do not charge a fee for these services.

If you disagree with the school's diagnosis, you have the right to ask for further testing or to seek a diagnosis from a professional in private practice. Similarly, if the school does not think it necessary to assess your child, you may want to seek a diagnosis from a professional in private practice.

Remember, in order to qualify for special education services or accommodations, your child must have a diagnosis that clearly shows he or she has a learning disability that meets the criteria defined by law. In general, federal law says that a person is eligible for accommodations when a documented disability significantly interferes with a major life activity such as learning. Most states use criteria related to the discrepancy between a child's ability and achievement. Federal laws also set clear guidelines on what special education accommodations must be provided.

The bottom line is that it's important to know upfront what services are available from the school and how a child's eligibility for those services is determined.


Sometimes kids just need an extra dose of reading help. Many schools provide tutoring support that includes one-on-one reading instruction. To make sure that your school has a high quality tutoring program, ask these questions:

  • How are the tutors trained?

    It's important that the tutors understand the goals and purposes of the lesson.

  • What is the structure of the tutoring session?

    Good tutoring programs use a lesson plan that is based in the best reading research.

  • How frequently will my child receive tutoring?

    Students should be tutored at least twice a week, for 45 to 60 minutes each time. Some students will need more.

  • Are the students assessed regularly to determine progress?

    A reading specialist should supervise the assessment program.

  • What types of materials are used during the tutoring sessions?

    Students should be carefully guided through books that are written at their reading level.

  • Does the content of the tutoring session support my child's classroom instruction?

    It should.

  • Does the content address my child's specific needs?

    If your child sounds out words well but struggles with vocabulary, the tutor should spend more time on word meanings than phonics.


Special education

Even with good classroom teaching and extra help, its possible that your child may continue to struggle with reading. Special education may be the answer — and it's required by law for students who are identified as having a learning disability.

The special education process includes these steps:

  • Referral

    You or your child's teacher suspects a problem and requests an evaluation by the school.

  • Evaluation

    With input from you and your child's teacher, a team of school professionals completes a full evaluation of your child. This same team — which may include a school psychologist, a speech-language pathologist, and a reading specialist — reviews the results to determine whether your child is eligible to receive special education services.

  • Eligibility

    If your child is eligible, you and the school team develop your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as required by law. Annually, or more often, you and the school review the IEP and its impact on your child's progress.

    If your child is ineligible, continue to push the school for help. If your child is not eligible but still struggles with reading, the school must figure out what will work for your child. You can also turn to private testing.

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How to help your child become a reader | Consultation (grade 3) on the topic:


People stop thinking when they stop reading.

D. Diderot

By the third grade, different children develop different attitudes towards reading as an independent intellectual activity.

As a rule, in each class there are two groups of children who demonstrate polar attitudes towards reading. Some read willingly and a lot, do not part with the book. Others, on the contrary, do not like to read, they do it only under duress. It is the second group of students that most often causes particular concern for teachers and parents. nine0005

Children who do not like to read often have poor reading skills. It is the absence of a well-developed reading skill that can serve as an obstacle to the free communication of a child with a book. In this case, special attention should be paid to working out the technical side of reading. Reading, like any other skill, requires special efforts and time to consolidate the skill and improve it. The time allotted for this in reading lessons is obviously not enough. To consolidate the reading skill, the child needs systematic, daily exercises. Specialists dealing with the problems of children's reading argue that the emotional state of the child is of particular importance for improving reading skills. Parents need to remember that a child who is loved by them regardless of their shortcomings, who receives emotional support from adults, and therefore, is self-confident, is easier to learn anything, including reading. nine0005

Meanwhile, many third-graders know the technique of reading quite well, but they are not active and independent readers. Parents often complain that the child does not show much interest in books, but spends a lot of time at the TV or computer. The need for reading does not arise by itself and does not develop as a result of forced communication with the book. Violence is unacceptable here. The love of reading is laid down over the years, and of paramount importance in this case is related to the reading of the parents themselves. Does the family like to read? Does the house have its own library? How often does a child see parents with a book? Do they share their impressions of what they have read with their children? Do parents follow book novelties, including in the field of children's literature? nine0005

As a rule, children of reading parents like to read.


If parents are seriously concerned about their child's lack of interest in reading, the advice of the American psychologist W. Williams may be useful to them. Here is some of them.

Enjoy reading yourself and develop in your children an attitude towards reading as a pleasure.

Let the children see how you enjoy reading yourself: quote, laugh, memorize passages, share what you read, etc.

Show that you value reading by buying books, giving them yourself and receiving them as gifts.

Let the children choose their own books and magazines (in the library, bookstore, etc.)

Hang a list in a visible place at home that will reflect the progress of the child in reading (how many books read and for how long).

Designate a dedicated reading area at home (nook with shelves, etc.).

There should be a children's library in the house. nine0005

Collect books on topics that will inspire children to read more about the topic (such as books about dinosaurs or space travel).

Have the children read the book the movie is based on before or after watching the movie.

Take turns reading stories or funny stories to each other. Entertain yourself instead of watching TV.

Encourage your child to make friends with children who love to read. Solve crossword puzzles with children and give them to them. nine0005

Encourage children to read aloud whenever possible to develop their skill and self-confidence.

Ask your children often about the books they read.

Encourage the reading of any type of periodical material, even horoscopes, comics, TV series reviews, whatever they like.

Children are better off reading short stories than long stories: then they get a sense of completeness and satisfaction. nine0005

Let the children read every night before going to sleep.

How to help your child love books | Article on reading (grade 3):

Vedernikova T.N

MAOU secondary school No. 88, Tyumen

Elementary school teacher

"How to help a child love a book"

People who read books,

will always manage those

who watch TV.

We live in the most amazing beautiful country. How proud and dignified her name sounds - Russia. Wonderful books, wonderful films, grandiose discoveries, and, of course, great people make our life interesting and our Motherland powerful. A few decades ago, we learned the news from radio and television, as well as from letters, telegrams, and postcards. Time is fleeting and today postcards and letters are so rare that our children sometimes do not understand what they are. The age of e-books, magazines, newspapers, smartphones, gadgets, tablets has come. Even a bedtime story does not sound from the lips of mother and grandmother, but from an audio recording on an electronic medium. It is convenient and practical. What a pity that in the modern information age, children began to read very little. nine0005

Parents often reassure themselves that the school curriculum provides for a sufficient set of works that their child should know. But most often, parents turn to the teacher with the problem of the child’s unwillingness to pick up a book. They complain that the child reads only what was asked at school and not a line more. The children explain it this way - if the teacher didn’t ask anything else, then you don’t need to read. I was asked more than once at a parent-teacher meeting that I include an additional reading of a story in my homework, and the child would not be able to argue with his parents at home. But such mandatory additional reading is not always beneficial. After all, children have different interests, tastes and desires. Someone loves fairy tales, someone loves poetry or stories about animals, and someone reads exclusively science fiction or is fond of reading encyclopedias. Here the help of parents is needed, their attention to the child and his hobbies. The saying “A child learns what he sees in his home” has become so relevant in relation to family reading that sometimes it is simply impossible to imagine such a situation that mom or dad pick up a book and calmly sit down to read it. Parents are busy working all day, and at home the only time left is to feed the child, help pack things for school, check the lessons. There is no time for family reading. How to introduce a child to reading books? How to help him understand that a book is much more interesting and useful than a movie or cartoon watched, and therefore a work? How to explain that the wisest and most talented people in our country grew up on the actions of the heroes of books? It is not an easy task for the modern teacher. nine0005

In order for a child to read a book and experience pleasure at the same time, he needs the skill of fluent and conscious reading. There are exceptions when, at a slow pace of reading, children still love books, and at a fast pace, they simply try to chatter the given text as soon as possible. But this happens extremely rarely. And the root cause of the reluctance to read is precisely the slow pace of reading. Each teacher checks the norms of reading technique with his students. I often ask the children to independently check the pace of their reading. Children pick up a pencil and begin to read the text. I give them 2 minutes. Then I give a signal to stop, and the guys put a mark with a pencil in the place where they read the last word. The next day I give them the same text and repeat the task. Almost everyone is pleased to notice that the pencil mark has moved further. And so, day after day, the guys calculate their successes. Tests, of course, change after 2-3 lessons. Children themselves notice that the more often they reread, the more words they manage to read. Another way to motivate reading is to test each other's reading skills. The guys work in pairs. They time themselves, give start and finish. They enjoy watching the second hand in our class. We often have reading competitions. Sometimes it comes to arguments: “Tomorrow we will check who will read more words.” Of course, the control of fluency and awareness of reading is the teacher's business, but self-examination and mutual examination bring considerable benefits. nine0005

The child began to read fluently and consciously. This is amazing. How not to lose this skill? Of course, fix it with constant daily reading. I think many have tried asking children to compare a book and a feature film. I suggest that the children read a work based on which there is a feature film or cartoon. Someone reads very quickly, and someone needs a few days. So, we are waiting for everyone. Then I suggest watching a movie at home, since there is a computer in almost every house and it is not difficult to find one or another product. After watching, the guys begin to notice that they did not see much that is written in the book in the movies. Someone is disappointed in the image of the heroes, because they imagined them in a completely different way. And someone, on the contrary, fell in love with the heroes of the film and watched the events with pleasure, because he knew what would happen next. Thus, children themselves conclude that reading a book is much more interesting than just watching a movie. The guys also check each other - they ask questions about those events in the book that are not in the film. Thus, there is not only interest in reading books, but also a certain excitement. The children would like to ask such a tricky question at the lesson, so that only those who read and remember the events very carefully could answer it. There is another way to activate the class for reading books. To do this, I take any children's work that is not in the textbook, start reading it and stop at any episode. The children are asked to read what happened next. I only write down on the board the title of the work and its author. The next day, they start talking about what happened next and how it all ended. I ask questions, trying to catch them and check how independently and carefully they read. If they come across, it is very rare, since such a practice is not new to them and they are waiting for questions. And here is another way to attract to conscious reading - playing the work. I set home reading by roles, only one student needs to read the text. It is necessary to read this or that episode, changing the voice and intonation, depending on the situation and the heroes of the work. Here, the desire to go out and be an artist is more than enough. The guys try not only to change their voice, but also to show movements, change facial expressions. nine0005

Thus, there are many ways to encourage children to read books. The task of the teacher is to arouse interest in reading. The task of parents is to teach to cherish and love the book. Home children's library should be regularly replenished.

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