Our third grade writing program requires each student to complete an animal research paper. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this project and with the help of her teacher and writing prompts, she wrote an amazing paper (I’m really not biased – it was amazing). Resources to Research Animals Use
In third grade, the expectations change significantly; a student will be expected to produced multiple drafts of her writing as well as spell correctly. Many curriculums introduce cursive script in third grade.
Cursive writing is much quicker than its counterpart, manuscript handwriting. As a result, cursive instruction is an important skill to obtain; it aids a student in the future years when he will be expected to take notes and write essays. Many curriculums do not dedicate enough time to cursive instruction (and practice) that allows a child to master cursive writing. In fact, many students will discontinue using cursive before they realize any of its benefits.
Third grade is the year when a child should strive to obtain fluent and legible handwriting. If your child struggles with handwriting, talk to her teacher or a specialist. You may want to look at how your child is holding a pencil and provide handwriting worksheets for practice. Make a game out of it by rating it, tracking improvement and offering incentives, e.g., piece of gum, extra T.V. or electronic time.
Many 3rd grade writing programs will expect a third grade student to produce multiple drafts of her writings as well as pay attention to the details, e.g., spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar. The content a third graders work will increase as teachers will expect them to summarize a nonfiction text, elaborate on what they learned and compare it to another text. Third graders will also cultivate their descriptive writing skills; they will organize ideas, portray scenes and events, and articulate with poise.
Many students will need assistance organizing their thoughts and ideas. Asking questions is a great way to assist your child if she gets stuck. Another strategy that helps a student is to create visual representations of the structure of an idea or text. This is called a graphic organizer, e.g., flowcharts, and bubbles depicting main idea and supporting details.
Becoming a good writer and developing compositional skills is important in the later elementary years. It strengthens and deepens the knowledge children obtain through reading. The ability to summarize and analyze leads to a firmer grasp of the material which is crucial for the middle school and subsequent years.