Third Grade 2011

A writing adventure …

Third graders have started a new adventure in my classroom!  We are now focusing on writing in response to what we have read.  This requires a lot of different skills which students need to be taught step by step.  We began our lessons with the idea that we just can’t write a good response or answer without carefully reading the text.  Using our thinking, our metacognition, we are able to interact with the text in order to develop a better understanding of what we have read.  Tonight when your child is reading ask him or her the simple question: “What were you thinking as you were reading?”   Hopefully, he or she will share the pictures, the connections, the inferences and the questions in his or her mind.


Determining Importance in Non-Fiction…

How do we know what is important when reading non-fiction?  There is so much to read and to remember… we just can’t remember it all.  Third graders determined the facts and information which answer our questions are what is important.  We practiced previewing a non-fiction text, and recording questions we had before we started reading.  As we read, we marked the places in the text where the information answered our questions.  We, also, learned to mark new learning as way of determining what is important… after all learning new information is important to us!  As your student reads a non-fiction text, ask him or her to think of questions he or she hopes will be answered when reading the text.  This will help focus your student’s reading.

Determining Importance in Fiction…

Third graders have been very busy learning how to determine what is important while reading a fiction text.  We just can’t remember every detail in a story when were reading.  However, if we can locate the story elements while reading then we will be more successful in isolating the important details.  The third graders have reviewed the following story elements:

  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Problem or Character Goal
  • Events
  • Solution or Outcome
  • Ending
  • Theme

As you work with your child, ask them to identify these elements.   Pay particular attention to your child’s ability to identify the theme.  The theme is the big idea or message the author is sharing through the text.