Common Core Reading Passage Examples for 3rd Grade

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Getting students to meet the Common Core State Standards can be challenging. This lesson will help you by providing ideas for readings that will help your third graders meet the standards.

The Common Core State Standards in Third Grade

The Common Core State Standards for literacy in third grade are separated according to literature, and informational text, or foundational skills. The literature standards ask students to refer to the text to demonstrate their comprehension, to be able to retell stories and derive their central message, and to be able to describe characters and other story elements. These standards also ask students to be able to synthesize different aspects of a story and make connections to stories.

In terms of reading informational texts, third graders are expected to ask and answer good questions, determine main ideas and supporting details, and describe relationships among different nonfiction texts. These students are also expected to sequence in relation to narrative text and to compare and contrast different texts. Third graders are also meant to have foundational skills to help them understand prefixes and suffixes, decode multisyllabic words, and read fluently enough to allow for accurate comprehension.

These are a lot of different expectations! One of the best ways to help students meet standards is to provide them with well-suited texts. The texts recommended here will help your third graders meet the common core standards.

Fiction Passages

Literature standards are best met via the reading of a great deal of diverse fiction. Some great fiction texts for third graders in relation to the common core include:

  • Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White

Whether you use excerpts from this classic book or have your students read the whole thing, Charlotte's Web will allow third graders to understand the relationships between different characters, the importance of sequencing in a plot, and the way that fiction can communicate broader messages, in this case about the nature of friendship.

  • The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

This book about a gorilla is an excellent one for teaching third graders to understand perspective taking, and the way point of view impacts how a story is told and perceived. It also asks children to bring their knowledge about animals and relationships to bear on a work of fiction, doing important synthesis work.

  • James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

This novel teaches third graders quite a bit about character motivation and how to understand character development and change over time. The poetically written text also offers a great deal of insight into how writers craft their work and provides multiple solid opportunities to build your third graders' vocabulary.

  • The Magic Treehouse Series, by Mary Pope Osborne

This series, always popular with third grade students, provides a remarkable opportunity to teach how fiction interacts with reality. Reading this series also gives students a chance to follow the same set of characters through multiple books.

Nonfiction Texts

The Common Core State Standards also put a great deal of emphasis on nonfiction. These books will help your third graders solidify their nonfiction reading skills while building up a strong foundation and repertoire.

  • Life in Space, by Katie Daynes

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