In the new series, Components of Third Grade Reading, I am going to be talking about each part of teaching reading in the third (or fourth) grade classroom. One of the main components is third grade reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is an essential part of teaching reading because it is a skill that they need throughout their whole lives. Today, I am going to talk about how I teach a brand new skill to my students.
Teaching a New Skill
Teaching a brand new skill (or review from a previous grade level) takes up most of the weeks in teaching third grade reading. When teaching a new skill, plan a whole week around that skill. Do activities each day that will further their reading comprehension and ability to use that skill.
Introduction lessons are one of the most valuable ways to help students get a real-life experience when related to reading comprehension skills.
What is an introduction reading skill lesson? Simple, it is a lesson that takes the new skill you are learning and applies it to the real-life of your students.
For example, if you are learning about inference, then you can set up this Inferencing Investigation. The students are solving a crime and using their inferencing skills. Then, you can apply it back to reading! These quick and easy lessons are ways for your students to remember what that term means, but also have real-life practice with how to apply it.
You can easily create real-life lessons or grab them here for each third grade standard!
Lots of Videos
Kids LOVE videos. I typically start each day with a video of some sort. Maybe it is a video explaining a skill or maybe it is a Pixar video that we use to practice a skill.
But a video is a great way to catch a student’s attention and have them practice their reading comprehension skills in a different manner.
Whole Group Practice with Mentor Texts
Explicitly teaching third grade reading comprehension skills is essential. Pick a mentor text and show students how to apply that reading comprehension skill. Talk them through exactly how they can think and what questions they can ask themselves.
Then, with that same text, practice together as a class with a graphic organizer or other tools to show them how to apply those comprehension skills that you just read.
I try to do this type of practice two times every single week.
Small Group Practice
Small group reading comprehension practice is another great way to get students to practice their reading comprehension.
This can be done through guided reading or other center type work! Meet with each group of students once a week and practice those comprehension skills that you are working on in whole group each day.
Read more about how I run this small group reading time here!
Small Group Projects
Students working together in groups can drastically improve their reading comprehension. If they are truly involved in the group, then they are able to really gain knowledge from their peers.
Try to shoot for one small group reading comprehension project a week. These don’t have to be hard. You could have them all doing a reading comprehension worksheet like a close read to practice the skill. Or you could have them all read a book on EPIC together and fill out a graphic organizer or make a poster on that skill! Get super creative and have them perform the skill (like summarizing) in play form about their book!
Don’t overthink this part. Just plan one day a week where you will have small group practice and plug in the activity!
Third grade reading comprehension should be practiced often independently as well.
Here are some quick ways to have students practicing reading comprehension skills independently.
- Third Grade Reading Comprehension Online- These quick and easy slide decks can be assigned and can be used to practice independently. Read more about them here!
- Close Reading- Have students complete daily close reading passages! Read more here!
- Silent Reading- Y’all, why have we lost this?! Silent reading is so valuable! Let kids read!
- EPIC- students LOVE reading books online for FREE on EPIC. Have them read a book and take the quiz that goes along with it to practice their reading comprehension skills!
Assessments don’t have to be long and tiresome. They can be a simple way for students to practice and show you their reading comprehension skills. It is also a great way to see what students need more review and practice on specific skills.
Grab these simple and easy assessments here!
Once I teach the comprehension skill going through the format above, we review those third grade reading comprehension skills OFTEN. We do this in many different ways.
- Novel Studies- I LOVE a good novel study! I try to do anywhere from 2-4 novel studies a year. You can read about how I run a novel study here!
- Challenges- Every month or so, I love to do a reading challenge. This just means that we are practicing many different skills and working toward a common goal. For example, with reading skill surgery, students are reading many passages, identifying hard concepts, and in the end, they are helping their patients survive! Check out more of these challenges here!
- Digital Practice- I talked about the slide decks above, but we are doing these in centers and other times throughout the day to make sure that kids are constantly practicing their skills.
- Paragraph of the Day- Simple close reading is a great way to practice skills. You use close reading so often, like while reading this post, so teaching kids how to do it well is so great!
Want some free Third Grade Reading Comprehension Lessons?!
Put your email below to grab a free sample of how I teach text structure to my students!
Or grab all of these ideas and lessons completely planned out for you the entire third grade year here!