• Third Grade English/Language Arts   

    Dear Third Grade Families;

    Welcome to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Family Pages. We hope the information provided on these pages assists you in supporting your child while s/he is learning important concepts throughout the third grade year. The information provided below is meant to outline some of the specific learnings your third grader will be engaged in this year. This guide offers highlights of third grade learning, rather than an exhaustive list.

    Balanced Literacy addresses K-5 Michigan English Language Arts Standards through Reader’s Workshop. Reader’s Workshop includes five key literacy practices: (1) Interactive Read-Aloud, (2) Mini-Lesson, (3) Guided Reading, (4) Literature Study, and (5) Independent Reading. The 3-5 resource is Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell and Literacy Continuum by Fountas and Pinnell.
    The K-5 writing program is based on the Writer's Workshop model.  It includes whole group mini-lessons, time for children to write individually, and time for writers to share their writing with each other. The Ann Arbor Public Schools uses Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and Ann Arbor-created Genre Studies as it’s core writing resources.
    To take a deeper look at each unit go to:     Atlas: Third Grade ELA 
  • Reading

    Key Ideas and Details (Fiction and Nonfiction)
    • Ask questions to deepen understanding of text
    • Notice and remember the important information in a text
    • Refer to important information and details and use evidence to support opinions statements
    • Relate important information and concepts in one text and connect to information and concepts in other texts

    Story Elements (Fiction)

    • Setting
      • Recall important details about setting after a story is read
      • Recognize and understand that texts may have settings that reflect a wide range of diverse places, languages, and cultures
      • Notice and understand settings that are distant in time and place from students’ own experiences
    • Plot
      • Notice and remember the important events of a text in sequence
      • Include the problem and its resolution in a summary of a text
      • Follow a text with a complex plot and multiple problems (longer stories)
    • Character
      • Recall important details about characters after a story is read
      • Follow multiple characters, each with unique traits, in the same story
      • Recognize that characters can have multiple dimensions
    • Messages and Themes
      • Infer the messages in a work of fiction
      • Notice and understand themes that are close to their experience
      • Notice when a fiction writer is communicating a moral lesson

    Book and Print Features (Fiction)

    • Notice, use and understand the purpose of some organizational tools: e.g, title, table of contents, chapter title
    • Notice and understand textual elements that have symbolic value, add to aesthetic enjoyment, or add meaning
    • Notice and infer how illustrations contribute to mood in a text

    Organization (Nonfiction)

    • Understand that a nonfiction text can be expository or narrative in structure
    • Notice that a nonfiction writer puts together information related to the same topic or subtopic
    • Gain new understandings from searching for and using information found in text body, sidebars, and graphics
    • Notice, use and understand the purpose of some organizational tools: e.g, heading, subheading, glossary, index

    Vocabulary (Fiction and Nonfiction)

    • Notice and acquire new content words from texts and graphics
    • Use grade level content and academic vocabulary in discussion of a text
  • Writing

    • Personal Narrative
      • Understand that writers tell stories from their own lives
      • Understand that a personal narrative is a text in which a writer reflects on a memorable experience, place, time, or person.
      • Write an engaging beginning and a satisfying ending to a story
      • Tell details about the most important moments in a story or experience while eliminating unimportant details
    • Fiction
      • Understand that a fiction text may involve one or more events in the life of a main character
      • Understand that a writer uses various elements of fiction: e.g., setting, plot with problem and solution, characters
      • Write a simple fiction story, either realistic or fantasy


    • Understand that a writer creates an expository text for readers to learn about a topic
    • Understand that to write an expository text, the writer needs to become very knowledgeable about a topic
    • Write a piece, about a topic, that is interesting to read and teaches or informs readers about a topic


    • Understand that opinion writers write about topics, supporting a point of view with reasons
    • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons
    • Provide reasons that support the opinion
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.Provide a concluding statement or section                                      
  • Partnering With Your Child’s Teacher

    If you have questions or concerns reach out to your child’s teacher—you are an important part of your child’s education. Ask to see a sample of your child’s work or bring a sample with you. Ask the teacher questions like:
    • Is my child reading on grade level? 
    • How is my child doing in writing?
    • What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
    • What can I do at home to make sure that my child is successful? 

     Helping Your Child Learn Outside of School

    1. Provide time and space for your child to read independently. This time should be free from distractions such as television.
    2. Ask your child what topics, events, or activities he or she likes. Then look for books, magazines, or other materials about those topics that would motivate your child to read.
    3. It is also helpful when your child sees other people reading at home. You could share what you have read.
    4. Start a family book club. Let different members of the family pick the book. This could be a good way to enjoy quality family time while experiencing the joy of reading together!
    5. Be sure your child has a library card. Children should select books they are interested in to develop a passion for reading. Many libraries have book clubs and family activities that make reading fun for the entire family.
    6. Use technology to help build your child’s interest in reading. There are several websites where students can read books or articles online. The computer will help with words the student cannot read independently. Libraries also have computers students can use to access those sites. Feel free to ask a librarian or teacher for suggestions.