The Island School, a private school on Bainbridge Island, offers an engaging third grade program for students from the Kitsap Peninsula, including Poulsbo, Suquamish, Indianola, Kingston, Hansville and Silverdale.
Our school provides an excellent academic education as well as the social/emotional learning (SEL) that is just as critical to a child’s lifelong success in building relationships with others. Social/emotional learning has been part of our educational program since The Island School was founded more than 40 years ago because, in our community, teaching children to be kind, respectful and inclusive is as important as teaching reading, writing and math. It is part of our mission to inspire in our children a lifelong enthusiasm for learning AND an appreciation and respect for themselves and others because this is education of the heart as well as the brain. We focus on the whole child, academically, socially and emotionally, while celebrating what makes each child unique.
We love reading in third grade! By third grade, most children are independent readers who become deeply engaged in the books they’re reading. At times it’s hard to get them to stop reading and go to recess! We begin each Reading Workshop with a read-aloud and a mini-lesson. Through the use of a picture book, we might review and practice a variety of reading strategies, have deep discussions about books, notice the different literary devices authors use in their writing or work on learning and applying a variety of comprehension strategies to use while they’re reading. In third grade we provide an environment where reading is joyful, meaningful and inclusive.
Reading Workshop activities include:
- Independent reading
- Buddy reading with peers
- Cross-age reading with our Kindergarten reading buddies
- One-on-one reading with the teacher
- Small group reading (Literature circles or skills instruction)
- Writing and sharing book recommendations
- Reading responses (writing about their reading)
- Developing comprehension strategies to use while reading - making connections, asking questions, visualizing, inferring, determining importance and synthesizing
- Increasing vocabulary through reading
- Discussing daily read-alouds
Most children come into third grade understanding the purpose of writing and find joy in expressing themselves through their writing. We support their enthusiasm for writing by giving them many opportunities and reasons to write. We want our students to see writing as an important tool for self-expression and a valuable skill for communication.
Writing Activities include:
- Thank you letters
- Birthday letters
- Reading response (writing about reading)
- Cross-curricular writing in math, science and social studies
Writing Workshop includes:
- Personal narratives
- Fiction stories
- Non-fiction research (topic of choice)
- Writer’s Craft Books
- Publishing (taking a piece through revising and editing to publication)
- 6+1 Trait Writing instruction - Ideas and Content, Organization, Word Choice, Voice, Sentence Fluency and Conventions
- Ending punctuation
- Commas in a series
- Quotation Marks
- Using appropriate verb tenses
Spelling and Word Study
In third grade we use Wired for Reading and Words Their Way as part of our spelling and word study work.
Wired for Reading is an engaging, multi-sensory word analysis program designed to improve reading, spelling, and vocabulary. Based on the latest research, students are taught to use linguistics in a kid-friendly way to understand the deep structure of language and phonics. As they learn to connect speech to sounds, sounds to letters, and letters to meaning, English spelling patterns are demystified, and students are empowered to confidently and fluidly decode words when reading and spelling (Wired For Reading – Teacher’s Manual, August 2014).
Words Their Way is a word study program we use in conjunction with Wired for Reading. Words Their Way is an individualized program with a focus on spelling patterns. Children receive individualized words, sort them according to spelling patterns and deepen their understanding of phonics and spelling.
Handwriting Without Tears
The third grade uses the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) cursive program. HWT teaches a vertical style script that is easy to write and easy to read. Lowercase letters are introduced first, beginning with letters that are similar to print. The emphasis of the third grade workbook, Cursive Handwriting, is on correct habits for forming and connecting letters.