Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12

Grade 3

Third graders stand on the brink of independence and the realization that they can be contributing members of their community. An important goal of third grade is for the children to begin to fulfill their potential as citizens.

Click on the subjects below for a summary of the Grade 3 curriculum.


A 90-minute literacy block is scheduled daily in Grades 1 through 5. Reading instruction is an integral component of literacy. Our goal is first and foremost to foster a love of reading. Research data indicates that in order for students to develop as readers, they must be afforded ample time to read. Therefore, we are committed to providing large periods of time for students to immerse themselves in reading books of their choosing as much as possible. We steer children toward books that they can read with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. Our approach supports the five essential foundational pillars of reading:

  • Phonemic awareness,
  • Phonics,
  • Fluency,
  • Vocabulary, and
  • Comprehension.
Reading Workshop

The Reading Workshop approach provides a consistent framework and continuum of literacy progression through the Lower School grades. Each child's performance assessments provide the basis for informed decisions to plan and individualize instruction through a gradual release of responsibility model. Students receive explicit instruction to build skills and strategies that promote reading automaticity, and stamina, helping them learn to become engaged, strategic readers. Comprehension strategies are taught through mini-lessons, modeling, read-alouds, discussion, small group instruction, and one-on-one conversations/conferences with the teacher.

Phonics, Spelling, Vocabulary and Word Study

In Grades K – 2, the Fountas and Pinnell program serves as our guide to teaching phonics, spelling, and how words work. Through direct instruction in early literacy concepts, letter sound relationships, spelling patterns, sight and high-frequency words, children learn how to put these skills into practice when reading and writing. When they are empowered with a range of strategies to solve words with efficiency and automaticity, the mind is freed up to attend to the more complex skill of comprehension.


Reading and writing skills develop in tandem. Children learn to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Choice and creative ideas are at the heart of the writing process. A common language is used to provide continuity across grade levels. Writing strategies are taught through mini-lessons, modeling, mentor texts, discussion, small group instruction, and one-on-one conversations/conferences with the teacher. Planning, structure, graphic organizers, grammar, and mechanics are essential tools for developing writers.

Each student learns to write in complete sentences and learns the structure of a paragraph. Throughout the year, book talks, journals, poetry, research reports, and creative writing pieces reflect each child's progress. Several Central Subject-related research projects also enhance the children's writing skills.


A 60-minute math period is scheduled daily for students in Grades 1 through 5.

Our approach draws on best practices, and highlights problem solving as the focus of mathematics. Opportunities to engage in conversation about the process are promoted and valued. We expect learners to construct and maintain positive attitudes toward math, to persevere, and to monitor their own thinking.

We begin each day with Every Day Counts: Calendar Math. As additional math experience, this provides time for preview, review, practice, and discussion of critical math concepts and skills. It increases engagement and motivation while building mathematical understanding.

Math In Focus with a coherent sequence of topics forms the core of our mathematics curriculum. It affords learners the opportunity to engage in model drawing experiences, which tap into their visual-spatial and reasoning strengths. At each grade level, time spent on topics allows for depth of exploration followed by mastery. This deep level of understanding eases the journey into higher levels of math.

Central Subject

Central Subject in the third grade explores the ideas of geography, home, and roots. The year begins with basic global orientation and map skills. The students learn about the United States through a series of regional studies and individual research projects that focus their attention on one particular state. The unit culminates with a "State Fair" where the students share their state research through projects and presentations. “Who comes to the United States?” is explored with an overview of U.S. immigration. In the second half of the year, a study of slavery in the United States further answers the above posed questions. Additionally, African geography, with a specific focus on the traditions of Ghana, strengthen the students’ knowledge of the continent. Kente cloth, Adinkra symbols, and the Aboakyer Festival help bring the Ghanaian culture to life.


Investigations include an overview of the Animal Kingdom with research on an animal from the Roger Williams Park Zoo and a focus on crayfish, insects, and metamorphosis; the physics of sound; a look at the water cycle and watersheds; and an environmental engineering project designing water filters.


Grade 3 continues to build on the Discipline-Based Art Education method of combining art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art production. The students' art vocabulary is now growing; they are learning how to evaluate and understand art as well as create it. This is a year of personal discovery. Projects are developed that allow the student to create freely and express themselves in their own unique way.

They will learn many new painting techniques by exploring color and texture in art, create colorful paper collages two-dimensionally, and design their own three-dimensional creative containers in clay.

The focus is taking an idea, using materials they are now familiar with, and stretching their imaginations to make works of art that are truly their own.

Integrated projects with their Central Subject and the study of Ghana are worked on in the spring. African folk tales are illustrated and Adinkra cloth is hand printed with their own unique patterns. Grade Three is truly a year for the students to begin to develop their own artistic style.

Computer Skills

In third grade computers, students expand their knowledge of technology through an assortment of programs and projects. These skills include Internet safety, formal keyboarding, multimedia presentations, and programming. Students also create several projects that complement other special classes.


The Lower School Drama program offers a mix of drama games, skit-work, readers' theater, and improvisation that lets all the students develop ease speaking before a group. These games are times to practice quick thinking, teamwork, self-control, leadership, ability to let others lead, and patience.

The program is geared to stretch the imagination. Lower School Drama also provides a venue in which bold declarations and bashful remarks are welcome, valued, and practiced by all.


Besides learning to play the recorder and to read music for this instrument, third graders sing songs from the slave era and accompany with African percussion as well as the Orff instruments.


In Grade 3, Spanish classes are designed to increase students’ comfort with the sounds of the Spanish language and to provide an enriching and enjoyable language experience.

Students engage in lessons enhanced by group activities, projects, games, plays, and songs to build their verbal and comprehension skills. Topics complement much of the third grade curriculum and include house and home, clothing, holidays, vacation, a variety of food cultures, measurement and a study of South America. In addition to language learning, the class also fosters an appreciation of the differences and similarities between the children’s culture and the culture of Spanish-speaking countries.


The format for third grade library classes is different from kindergarten through grade 2. The focus changes and there is a balance between information and imagination. Students learn to write a bibliography card and notecard using the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) standards documentation. Students complete two formal research assignments during the school year and are assessed on each one.

Physical Education

Basic motor skills continue to be emphasized in these grades. Movement education is re-enforced through creative warm-ups, running/chasing games and motor skill activities. Throwing, catching, and kicking skills continue to be developed and practiced. The curriculum incorporates more games and activities that involve teamwork, cooperation and skill development. Basic stunts and tumbling, jump rope, obstacle course challenges, movement skills and group games are all experienced at this level. Games become more involved as more rules and strategy are developed.

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