Reading is one of the most important skills a student must develop. The earlier a student become a proficient reader, the higher his chances of succeding in school. Indeed, the reading level of a student determines how succesful he or she will be in the long run.
With this in mind, third grade has a reading program that builds upon what students have learned in previous years. In third grade students keep improving fluency and comprehension in a systematic manner. With each lesson, students acquire a richer vocabulary and learn to read more complex sentences.
In third grade teachers help students to continue in their progress towards becoming proficient readers. Thus, it is most important that each student work daily towards this goal. A student must direct his or her efforts diligently on both fluency and comprehension by reading regularly both core and support materials.
Fluency can be defined as the ability to read with speed and accuracy a text. It involves decoding the written symbols instantly and comfortably. Fluency is necessary to make sense out of the print material. It also involves aspects of prosody, rhythm and intonation as well.
Students develop all these characteristics through practice. Proficient readers must master several combinations of sounds and symbols, increase their vocabulary, and read more complex sentences. Thus, in third grade the reading program requires students to read for fluency daily.
Reading comprehension can be defined as the ability to get meaning out of texts. It is different from fluency for it demands understanding specific skills such as recognizing main ideas, finding details, making inferences, drawing conclusions, and making summaries.
Reading comprehension is learned through a variety of exercises specifically designed for each particular goal. Thus, the third grade program focuses on one of the basic skills such as finding the main idea, making inferences, or drawing conclusions, among others. Students spend a few weeks working on one basic skill at a time. This way, in third grade we have the goal to help students achieve a level of proficiency that allows them to use these skills efficiently for school and personal purposes as well.