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The Importance of Third Grade Reading Skills


Every grade is important and meaningful for children and their development. Third grade is especially crucial, as it is the transitionary period from children learning to read to reading to learn. This duration can be an academic hurdle. It is so important and can be overlooked by many parents. When third grade is not taken seriously by both children and parents, the child can be left struggling with reading and literacy skills. 

In fact, the Annie E. Casey Foundation‘s 2009 NAEP data analysis found that 83% of low-income third graders test below excellent reading level at the beginning of fourth grade. That is why proficient reading by the end of third grade is so critical. The National Research Council finds that a third grader that is struggling with reading is unlikely to graduate high school. Reading and literacy skills allow students to obtain vital life and developmental skills to improve their knowledge and explore their imagination. Are reading skills the key to third graders’ academic success? Read on to learn more about the importance of reading skills in the third grade.

Third Grade and Combating The ‘Matthew Effect’

Struggles in the third grade do not just stop there. That transition is the “fourth-grade slump.” That slump is late-emerging reading challenges and disabilities. This is detected through early signs of letter, word, and reading recognition problems. Some children can easily memorize the alphabet and words without fully comprehending the meaning of the word or sentence. However, other students struggle with this. The ‘Matthew Effect’ is the concept that students who are academically rich will continue to thrive. Whereas students who are academically poor will become poorer. Is there a way to combat this effect?

Appropriate, timely interventions can help successfully reverse the ‘Matthew Effect’ and help stop this cycle in its tracks. Some states implemented stricter laws where third graders struggling with reading will not get promoted into the fourth grade. School districts can hold back third-graders who are not excelling with reading into the fourth grade for 2022-2023. This law encourages teachers and parents to develop a plan to formulate specialized instruction, tutoring, and summer learning programs.

Why Reading By Third Grade Is So Vital

Reading to learn is one of the most important skills for students to develop and master for their future. Literacy and reading skills lay the foundation for future academic success. Without these skills in place, students are far less likely to understand what they’re learning at higher elementary grade levels into high school. Not only can this hinder their knowledge, but it also leaves students struggling with anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem. Although it may seem hard to believe that third-grade reading skills could have such a significant impact on a student’s future career, they do.

Insufficient reading and literacy skills expose children to an academic domino-effect of future educational struggles. Spotting and acknowledging these reading difficulties early on offers students a chance to have access to the reading and writing help they need. Third grade is a turning point in the academic journey for all students. Teachers and parents alike should take full advantage of this early period to help their students be as proficient readers as possible.

Tutoring For Third-Graders Helps Them Become Better Readers

GradePower Learning’s English Tutoring programs are the building blocks of academic success for young learners. Not only are reading and literacy skills critical for English class, but they are also the stepping stones for a student’s future. Our professional tutors help children develop a proper understanding of reading, writing, and spelling skills they can apply in every subject. Help your third grader tackle reading and literacy problems ahead of time to be prepared for fourth grade by fall!

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