I Need to Know How to Help My 3rd Grader with Reading!

March 15, 2022

How to Help My 3rd Grader with Reading

Students in third grade are likely reading small chapter books. Third grade is known for being a tough grade, because it’s really the in-between point of the younger grades and the upper elementary grades. Children are learning more difficult concepts (like multiplication facts) that will prepare them for fourth and fifth grades and, later, middle school.

Since reading becomes more difficult in third grade, parents might search for ways on ‘how to help my third grader with reading.’ While there are many strategies that can work, sometimes parents feel like they are at wit’s end. They might not know how to help their child.

There are a few solutions for parents who are overwhelmed and need to help their child:

  • Hire a tutor
  • Reach out to the teacher for enrichment materials
  • Be the tutor
  • Use a reading program

How to Help My 3rd Grader with Reading

Tales of an Overwhelmed Parent

Parents and caregivers can’t do everything. They simply might be too busy, too stressed or even too limited in their understanding of how to help a struggling reader.

Feeling overwhelmed has happened to probably every parent. There might be a point when a parent just doesn’t know what to do or how to best guide their child. This might be the time for a parent or caregiver to reach out for help.

Reading in third grade builds on earlier skills. Children who have fallen behind in reading might need to catch up on those earlier skills that they missed. Parents might not know where or when the child began to stumble or have difficulty.

When a parent is feeling overwhelmed, they might need to drop an email to their child’s teacher. They can inquire about:

  • The child’s reading level
  • The appropriate reading level for the child’s age
  • Any concerns that the teacher has about the child
  • Ways a parent can help at home

Teachers are great resources, and parents shouldn’t feel afraid or embarrassed to reach out. Teachers may welcome the email. When emailing a teacher, parents are really trying to zero in their child’s reading level/ability in comparison to grade-level benchmarks.

Some parents might assume the child should be reading at a higher level when, in fact, the child is reading at the correct level for their grade. Teachers also can share with parents any concerns they might have related to a child’s reading; maybe the teacher notices that the child is struggling with sounding out words or retelling the story.

Teachers also can help parents understand how they can help their child at home. Teachers have a background in elementary education, and they can help guide parents on how to provide enrichment and instruction at home. Teachers also could provide parents with extra worksheets or additional tools that could help their child.

It’s possible that a parent could email a teacher and have little feedback from the conversation. A parent might understand that their child is struggling with fluency or comprehension; they could be concerned. Parents might look for other ways to help if the teacher doesn’t offer many suggestions.

How to Help My 3rd Grader with Reading

Hiring a Reading Tutor

Parents who need to help their child gain reading proficiency and confidence might research reading tutors in their area. There are many tutoring businesses that provide parents with tutors across different grade levels and subjects.

Through these companies, parents can find a tutor that has the background they want and offers the guidance they feel their child needs. Tutoring companies typically require all their tutors to pass a background check.

Parents also could inquire about tutors through their school. Sometimes the school administration could know of tutoring services locally. Parents also could research free tutoring programs that might be offered by local high school students that need the hours for community service projects.

Before settling on a tutor, though, parents will want to make sure the tutor has been vetted. In addition, rates of private tutors may vary, and parents may need to research tutors that are affordable.

Be the Tutor

Some parents might take on the tutoring role themselves. However, if parents don’t know how to guide their child, this might not be an option. This arrangement would work for some parents and their child, but others really struggle to be a teacher in a structured and effective way.

Parents also need to know the areas of struggle for the child. Do they need to work on phonics? Fluency? Comprehension? Understanding the child’s struggle allows parents to find the most effective form of instruction to help them progress.

Parents or caregivers may schedule tutoring times to focus on reading instruction. Parents might find resources online to help them guide their child’s reading journey. They can use worksheets, graphic organizers or other tools for lessons.

Children who struggle with comprehension might benefit from graphic organizers that help them break down story details into easy chunks. Parents also can teach children the habit of re-reading text and chunking text to help with comprehension.

Reading Programs to Help a Struggling Reader

Some parents don’t have the financial means to hire a private tutor, and they also might not feel comfortable or confident trying to tutor their child at home. Reading apps and programs can be used at home to help children who struggle with reading.

All reading programs may be designed differently. Parents should look for a program that is designed to help their child’s struggles or that is designed to guide all aspects of the reading journey. Readability helps readers who struggle with both fluency and comprehension, and the program can be used from preschool through fifth grade.

Children who struggle with reading also may be reading at levels below their peers. This doesn’t mean, though, that older readers should read stories and books written for young children. Parents should research reading programs that provide high-low books; these are books that have content that appeals to older children but are written at a lower reading level.

Parents also can look for programs that are designed to appeal to different learning styles (e.g. auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.). Readability requires children to read stories aloud, and the program includes a built-in AI tutor that learns the child’s voice. When a child makes a mistake or needs help, the tutor provides auditory guidance. The tutor also asks questions at the end of each story to test a child’s comprehension.

A reading program also should invite exploration. With Readability, every story includes a vocabulary list. However, children can tap on any word in a story to discover the meaning and hear it used in a sentence. Every word a child discovers is added to their word bank; children can review their list of vocabulary words over and over.

Reading programs also should include data that helps parents understand if their child is making progress. Readability provides parents with a portal called the Progress Dashboard; this displays a child’s reading data including their fluency (measured in words read per minute), the amount of time they used the program, their comprehension and their reading level. Parents also can collate this reading data into a report that can be emailed to the child’s school or teacher to facilitate communication.

Not every reading program is a good fit for every child. In addition, reading programs often charge a monthly subscription fee, which might cause parents to hesitate about signing up for the program. However, apps and reading programs should offer a trial period to encourage parents to explore the program with their child to ensure it meets their child’s needs.

Readability offers a free seven-day trial period that provides children with access to all the program’s features. Parents interested in exploring Readability to help their third grader with reading can sign up for a free trial today!