Things Your Child Should Know Before Entering Third Grade

Posted by Sarah Rutzler on September 11, 2017

By third grade, children have spent two years learning and comprehending basic math and reading skills. In third grade, children will learn to expand what they have learned to do more complex computations and problems. Reading is a huge focus in third grade. Children are expected to have gained a lot of “learning to read” skills so they can apply it to reading comprehension (reading to learn). Children have already started gaining vocabulary and fluency skills, so these skills in third grade are expected to grow even more.

Here is an example checklist of what a child needs to know before starting third grade (checklist can vary based on your state’s academic standards).


Reading and Reading Comprehension Skills

  • How to collect information about a topic 
  • How to read different styles of text (articles, short stories, short chapters in a book)
  • Ask appropriate questions and answer questions about a text (who, what, where, when, why, and how)
  • Read fables, folktales, and myths
  • Recall and retell events from a story in order
  • Tell how the author uses details to support their story or text
  • Compare and contrast elements in different stories (characters, settings, plot, and problems)
  • Discuss a story or topic with their classmates (ask and respond to questions)
  • Read grade level assigned books


Writing Skills

  • Know editing and revising skills
  • Write about an event using a beginning, middle, an end.
  • Write something that tells a story, provides information, or gives their opinion
  • Know proper punctuation


Mathematic Skills

  • Add and subtract number up to 100 (30+25 or 72-12)
  • Solve one-two step word problems 
  • Understand the ones, tens, and hundreds place in a three-digit number
  • Read and write up to 1000
  • Measure objects in various forms of measurements (inches, feet, centimeters, and meters)
  • Understand and know the value of money
  • Solve problems using money
  • Know that smaller coins can equal an amount of a different coin or bill (ex: two nickels = one dime or four quarters = one dollar)
  • Graph data on a bar graph
  • Divide simple shapes into smaller pieces (halves, thirds, quarters)


Social Studies Skills

  • Know about their community 
  • Basic map skills
  • Locate bodies of waters on a map
  • Recognize more major landforms
  • Recognize and know more historical buildings
  • Recognize and know more important figures in history
  • Know more basic cultures and their traditions (Native Americans)


Science Skills

  • Know living systems like the food chain
  • Recognize and know that the same materials can exist in different areas (solid, gas, liquid)
  • Understand the concept and importance of recycling 
  • Understand the planets and know their order in the Solar System 
  • Use other tools to gather scientific information for an experiment 
  • Classify animals based on species (mammals, amphibians) 


Social Skills and Abilities 

  • Work independently 
  • Interact with peers and explore concepts
  • Work in a group
  • Follow directions and participate in group activities
  • Share and communicate appropriately with other students
  • Respect their peers
  • Sit for a longer period of time than in second grade (60 minutes) 

Click the links below to see an outlined model curriculum for third grade (note this outline is for the state of New Jersey. State model curriculums will vary)




Morin, Amanda. "Academic Skills Your Child Needs for Third Grade." Web. 30 Aug. 2017

Topics: Math, Education, Reading Comprehension, Enhanced Learning, Third Grader, Academic Standards

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