A Complete Guide to the Third Grade Reading Standards

third grade reading standards

Even for veteran teachers, staying on top of the all the third grade reading standards can be a daunting task. That is why I created this handy guide to all of the standards for both fiction and nonfiction text. Each page of this guide includes the following components to help you understand the standards better.

The Standard and the Anchor Standard:

third grade reading standards

The top left portion of the pages within this guide includes the Common Core reading standard for third grade.

third grade reading standards

The top right portion of the pages includes the anchor standard. Anchor standards are not grade-specific; they are the same for each grade level (K-12). They provide a big-picture or universal goal and correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards. Anchor standards are overreaching; while the actual standards offer grade-level specificity–that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

Key Wordsthird grade reading standards


Each standard lends itself to a specific set of keywords and phrases. These are included to help guide instruction and keep you, and your students focused within a standard. These lists are not exhaustive (you may find several others that fit a standard), nor are they exclusive to a standard (you will notice overlap between some standards).

Essential Skills

third grade reading standards

Essentials skills are specific examples of what students should be able to do within a particular standard. These are observable behaviors that should guide assessment and thus drive instruction. When planning a shared or guided reading lesson, these are the behaviors you will want to model for your students.

Question Stems

third grade reading standards

Each standard has a list of question stems. You can apply these general questions to almost any text. They are a helpful starting point when creating standards-based tasks for your students. Keep these handy during guided reading and shared reading lessons.

Matriculation Reference

third grade reading standards

The bottom of each page includes the same standard from the previous grade and the subsequent grade. The previous grade-level standard allows you to see what skills your students should have mastered to be successful. This is helpful when working with below grade level students. The subsequent grade level standard will help guide your instruction at the end of the school year and will allow you to differentiate for students who are performing above grade level.


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