3rd Grade Reading
Click to viewIndependent Reading Wisdom

1.  How do I know what book to pick?

Pick a book in your reading range or a book that you might read with an adult about a topic you like.  There are many different systems you can use to know your reading range.  Ask the teacher what level your student is reading at fluently and build from there.  We us AR levels, Lexile Levels, and a letter system in our classroom to guide us in independent reading.  Sometimes depending on your vocabulary, background knowledge, and exposure to different genre, you may need to adjust your reading range accordingly to find the best fit book for you.  The librarian is a fantastic resource to find books on topics you like in your reading range.

2.  Should I read a variety of different books?

Yes.  It is important to read a variety of books to get exposure to a variety of genres, topics, and writing styles.  This will make you a very well rounded reader that can lead to powerful conversations with others.  This helps your learning process grow.  Reading a variety of books builds your background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills, and fluency.  Look for a variety of picture books, chapter books, novels, magazines, essays, reports, text books, graphic novels, etc. to help increase your reading abilities.

3.  Should I really still be reading picture books?

Yes.  It is a quick and fast way to improve your background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills on a topic.  Plus they are just fun to read.

4.  How do I know if I should be reading Picture Books, Chapter books, or Novels?

Think of reading as a video game.  When you play video games it makes you go through level after level.  You start out easy and as you go move forward, the levels get more challenging.  Reading books is like that too.  First you start out with picture books.  As you get good at picture books, you move on to Chapter Books.  This helps you get ready for Novels.  Going in this order helps strengthen your background knowledge, vocabulary skills, and memory skills.

 5.  What do I do if reading is hard for me?

The first thing you need to do is have a plan on how to read books that are above your reading ability.  If you read below your current grade level, you will want to read grade level books with a parent/guardian/or buddy until your reading level is brought current.  The second thing you will want to do is increase your reading time at home and school.  As you read more, you will find the books becoming easier and more interesting.  Third, start reading lots of books about a topic you like.  This will help build your skills naturally and then you can find more topics you like and again your reading will grow.

6.  What do I do if reading is to easy for me?

Challenge yourself to reading more complicated books.  You can pick a topic and then research reading materials to go with that topic.  Remember to always ask an adult for help if words and ideas become to challenging.  You can also challenge yourself to an author study.  That means finding an author you like and reading all of his/her books.  Some like to do this in a book study manner in which they find 2 or 3 friends who want to read the same book and then you have book talks about the story or topic.  Finally you probably are naturally increasing the amount of time you read at home.  Usually those who want a challenge do not read the typical 20 minutes a night at home.  You might try reading for an hour or more at a time.  Some kids have been know to love a book so much they read it until they are done.

7.  How much time should I really spend reading each night?

The minimum amount you should read each night is 20 minutes.  If you read 20 minutes a night, you will maintain the current level you are reading at and you might increase it slightly.  If you want to raise your reading level, you must read more each night than the typical 20 minutes.  For example...  if you want to start reading above your current grade level... then you must read more.  Instead of  20 minutes, try reading 30-40-or 60 minutes.  The same applies for if you are reading below your current grade level.  If you need to catch up to your peers, then reading more each night is very, very, very important.  This will make your classwork and homework easier as you move through your school years.

8.  How do I sound better when I read?

To sound better when you read, you have to practice your decoding and fluency skills.  By now you should know your letter sounds and how to sound out words or break words apart by chunking.  If not, you will need to ask your parents/ guardian/ or teacher for help.  They can show you what sounds letters make and can help you split up words to make small parts to read.  Once you have a good start in decoding, now comes the practice time.  Start with reading an easy picture book that you like.  Practice reading it to yourself and remember to ask for help if you get stuck on a word.  Reread the book several times that day and even for a week or two.  With all that practice you will sound like an expert in no time.  Now try using different voices, speeding up or slowing down or getting softer/louder to grab the attention of your audience.  Reading fluently is lots of fun, but it does take lots of practice.  Read, read, read!

9.  I have a hard time remembering what I read.  What can I do to help that?

That is a good question!  Sometimes we forget what we read because we are not interested in the material we are reading.  Taking notes could help with that.  If the book is too long for you, you might also forget what you have read.  Reading with another person the same book could allow you a chance to stop and talk about the material as you read.  This can help.  Sometimes a book also has a movie that goes with it.  Comparing the book to the movie can also help with the memory of the book.  Sometimes a book has a quiz or test for it that can test your comprehension.  This is good practice for improving memory of the details of a book.  You can find these tests online or maybe your teacher has some practice reading materials with quizzes.  There are lots of strategies your teacher can use to help you with the memory of a book, so don't forget to let him/her know.

10.  When I read I run into word I don't know.  What should I do?

Learning new vocabulary words can be fun and exciting.  First ask someone that is near to you what the word means.  If no one is near by at the time, you can always look words up in dictionaries and thesauruses.  I also like to use context clues and pictures in the story if they have them to help me be a "word detective".