Teachers continue to use a variety of strategies to build reading skills in third grade. In some schools, children are divided into groups, based on reading levels, and taught specific skills by their classroom teacher or a reading teacher. In other settings, children work in small reading groups within the classroom, but the groups change frequently and are not necessarily based on reading levels. Instead, they focus on a particular type or piece of literature, or on a science or social studies theme that the class is studying. Another approach is to pass out a text and workbooks in a reading series, and allow each child to progress through the workbooks at his or her own pace.

In most third grades, there is also a regular time to visit the school library and take out books. There's a classroom library with fiction and non-fiction selections at a variety of reading levels. And children are expected to do lots of independent reading during the school day. Frequent book reports (about one a month) are assigned, and many teachers require students to do special reading-related projects, such as creating a poster to advertise their favorite book, or dressing up as a character from a book and telling the class about an adventure that character had.

Usually, there is some exploration of different types of literature, from fables, legends, and myths to poetry, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. Students are regularly encouraged to read aloud, and reading is integrated into all other coursework, including math and science.

The emphasis throughout is on building vocabulary, knowledge, and comprehension — as well as a love of reading, and a strong desire to read and learn.

Continue to Push
Any lag in reading skills should be seriously addressed. If your child was struggling earlier, he'll probably continue to get some kind of extra help at school, either from the teacher or from a tutor or reading specialist.

You should also be working with him at home. If your child is not getting help and needs it, it's up to you to demand it. There is still time to strengthen his skills before the avalanche of work in fourth grade.

Keep Reading Aloud
If your child is already a strong reader, you should keep encouraging him to read, so he can hone his vocabulary and comprehension skills. You should also keep reading to him.

Many parents assume that once a child can read on his own he doesn't need to be read to anymore. But according to teachers, that's absolutely not true. Reading aloud to your child will:

Enable him to enjoy books that are above his reading level, but not his interest level
Broaden his understanding of word usage and vocabulary
Expand his base of knowledge
Sharpen his listening and concentration skills
Give the two of you a good excuse to spend some one-on-one time together every day
Most of all, it shows your child that you think reading is really important.