Third Grade Standards

You will likely see your child feeling more confident about their skills. They may be bursting with ideas they just have to share with you (like right now). Sometimes, that can get a little in the way of listening. Many third graders like to challenge their limits. When they make mistakes, they bounce back quickly. 

Use this page to find out what you can expect your child to learn this year. You can also use this information to talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s progress throughout the year. You can also explore this site to find general information about learning standards, how they relate to Common Core and standardized testing.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, we welcome you to talk with your child’s teacher.

Resources to Help at Home

Here organizations with tips and resources you can use to help your child at home:

  • National PTA Parent's Guide to Success in Third Grade (pdf): Includes key skills, activities you can do at home, and tips for talking to your child's teacher (in Spanish)
  • Khan Academy: Includes interactive exercises and videos to help in math, science, economics, computing and arts and humanities
  • Great Kids Third Grade Milestones: Includes videos to help you see what your child should be able to demonstrate in critical areas by the end of the year
  • Be a Learning Hero: Allows parents to search by state, grade and subject to find homework support resources
  • Raise the Bar Parents: provides  educational 'checkups' they to see if your child is making progress toward meeting the standards. The site also includes resources to help students improve

Your child’s teachers can also share more tips and suggest activities to strengthen your child’s skills at home. 

English Language Arts (ELA): Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

In third grade, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Learning to read with fluency and confidence will serve as a foundation for the reading demands in later grades. They will think, talk and write about what they have read in a variety of articles, books and other sources of information including the Internet. In their writing, students will pay more attention to organizing information; developing ideas; and supporting these ideas with facts, details and reasons.


  • Understand key ideas and details of fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Work with the authors' style and organization of a piece of fiction or nonfiction (known by teachers as craft and structure)
  • Use the information in illustrations and words to better understand the meaning of the text (known by teachers as integration of knowledge and ideas)
  • Read from a variety of selections of various complexity


  • Write arguments, informative and narrative styles
  • Plan, revise and edit their writing
  • Research to build and present knowledge
  • Write for a variety of tasks, purposes and audiences

Speaking & Listening

  • Prepare to participate in a range of conversations
  • Present information in a variety of formats to various audiences


  • Understand conventions of standard English grammar
  • Develop and use age-appropriate academic vocabulary 

Foundational Skills

  • Know and apply grade-level phonics to decode words
  • Increase reading fluency to better understand a text

For detailed information about ELA standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's English Language Arts Learning Standards page.


In third grade, students learn basic multiplication and division facts. They explore the relationship between multiplication and division as they learn the related division and multiplication facts in the same fact family. These skills, along with mental math and estimation, allow students to solve problems that call for multiplication. Building on an understanding of how multiplication and division relate to each other, students prepare to learn efficient procedures for division, which will be developed in fourth grade. Multiplication is also central to students’ study of many other topics in mathematics across the grades, including fractions and algebra.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies,” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

Operations and algebraic thinking

  • Represents and solves problems involving multiplication and division
  • Understands properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division
  • Multiplies and divides within 100
  • Quickly recall multiplication and division facts to 10
  • Solves problems involving the four operations, and identifies and explains patterns in arithmetic

Number and operations in base 10

  • Uses place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic

Number and operations: fractions

  • Develops understanding of fractions as numbers

Measurement and data

  • Solves problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes and masses of objects
  • Represents and interprets data
  • Geometric measurement: understands concepts or area and relate area to multiplication and to addition
  • Geometric measurement: recognizes perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguishes between linear and area measures


  • Reasons with shapes and their attributes


Our state is currently in the process of updating science standards and this transition is expected to take several years. Many elements of these standards already appear in our classrooms. Our new state science standards are designed to help your child learn to answer questions and solve problems using scientific and engineering practices. Your child will learn about the core ideas, the practices, and the key concepts used by scientist and engineers in the real world. Each year, your child will build on what they learned in earlier grades. Your child may learn skills and knowledge in these broad areas:

Science and Engineering Practices

Science instruction at most grade-levels will include the following practices:

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models, such as diagrams, drawings or computer simulations 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following areas of study will all be addressed over time:

  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science

Crosscutting Concepts

Students will learn about the following important concepts that span across all fields of science and engineering:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation 
  • Scale, proportion and quantity 
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation 
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change


Social Studies

Through units of study on Culture: People, Places and Environment, students will build knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics and civics with the goal of developing responsible citizenship.

  • Understands concepts and content including basic map skills, community and global connections
  • Applies research skills (acquires, organizes and presents information)
  • Participates in projects and activities

Health & Fitness


  • Understands health and wellness concepts
  • Participates in health and wellness projects and activities


  • Demonstrates fundamental and complex movement skills (kicks, dribbles, volleys, strikes, catches, throws
  • Understands proper use of equipment 
  • Understands and follows rules as applied to specific activities

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website

Arts & Music

Visual arts

  • Identifies and creates color values
  • Uses line to create detail
  • Blends art media for different visual purpose

Music/instrumental music

  • Explore, demonstrate and experience music as they use their voices, bodies, and instruments in games and activities
  • Experience, explore, and discover a variety of types, styles, and genres of music, including traditional children’s songs, folk songs, partner songs, rounds, canons, classical music and world music
  • Develop the musical skills and techniques they need to identify and explore the elements of music