What Your Third Grader Should Know

By Sylvan Learning

Age Groups

Times flies and your child is already halfway through elementary school! Third grade is a critical time in your child’s education. It’s the year when standardized testing begins and students are expected to be fluent readers. Listed below are things your third grader should know to stay on track.

Is your child up to grade level? Whether your child needs help catching up, or wants to enrich their skills and get ahead, Sylvan has a variety of programs that can help build your third grader’s confidence!




Third Grade Reading

Third graders are no longer learning to read; now they’re reading to learn. They’re reading longer books with chapters and using more complex reading strategies. They should be able to:

  • Use reading strategies such as asking questions, making inferences and summarizing.
  • Describe characters in a story.
  • Understand the different genres of fiction.
  • Determine the main idea and details in non-fiction texts.
  • Use and understand text features in non-fiction texts.
  • Use context clues to learn new vocabulary.
  • Compare and contrast information from texts.


Third Grade Writing

When it comes to writing, third graders take the foundational skills they’ve learned thus far and apply them. Now they should be able to:

  • Use thinking maps to organize their ideas.
  • Write in a variety of genres including letters, personal narratives, fiction stories and research reports.
  • Revise and edit their writing.
  • Write in paragraphs using transition words.
  • Write in cursive.
  • Understand parts of speech: noun, verb and adjective.
  • Correctly use basic punctuation.
  • Understand prefixes, suffixes and homophones.
  • Use reference books such as the dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Support opinions in expository writing.


Boy learning to write alphabet characters


Third Grade Math

Third grade math expects students to know their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division fact families and use them in equations and two-step word problems. In addition, third graders need to know how to:

  • Read and write large numbers through the hundred thousands, knowing the place value for each digit.
  • Round and compare numbers.
  • Understand equivalent fractions, be able to compare fractions and change mixed numbers to improper fractions.
  • Know decimals to the one-hundredth place.
  • Use number lines.
  • Recognize and write patterns.
  • Do mental addition and subtraction.
  • Add four-digit numbers.
  • Subtract with regrouping.
  • Know time to minute and elapsed time in minutes.
  • Read and make graphs.
  • Determine a shape’s perimeter and area.
  • Recognize two-dimensional shapes.
  • Measure with both Customary and Metric systems – length, weight, volume and temperature.
  • Multiply three and four digit numbers.
  • Divide two and three digit dividends.


Third Grade Social Studies

Social studies class in third grade depends on your school district’s curriculum. Most often third graders study maps, Native Americans, explorers and colonies.


Go on an adventure!


Third Grade Science

Third grade science introduces kids to experiments and using the scientific method with a hypothesis and observations. The science curriculum might cover (depending on your school district) the Earth, weather, the water cycle, states of matter, recycling, astronomy, classifying animals, the human body and astronomy.


Third grade is such an exciting time

Now’s the time to take action if:

  • You’ve noticed any academic issues that have been simmering for a while
  • Your child is just getting by (but isn’t really excelling), or …
  • You want to give you child an edge for next year

Sylvan offers a variety of services — from personalized tutoring, to homework coaching and skill building, to advancement programs — to help your family achieve your goals.

Reach out today to explore how we can help!



Looking for additional third grade resources? Check out these websites:

Common Core Reading
Common Core Writing
Common Core Math