Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (2023)


Parenting»Book lists» Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers

List of classic — or almost-classic — books to help your child improve reading, vocabulary, and comprehension.

by:St. Michael Fry

Print book list

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (1)

The Thing About Luck

by:Cynthia Kadohata, illustrated by:Julia Kuo- (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014)304 pages.

Summer’s family is plagued with bad luck. When a family emergency sends her parents to Japan, Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left with their grandparents, who come out of retirement to harvest wheat and help pay the bills. As her family’s luck goes from bad to worse, Summer must figure out how to make it better. Like Kadohata’sAbout, this story explores the inner lives of tweens in a stark and sometimes heartbreakingly real world; but this story’s slow pace requires a patient appreciation for her nuanced characters and evocative settings.

Perfect for:Patient readers who enjoy reading lyrical, character-driven stories.

FindThe Thing About Luckat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (2)

Africa Is My Home

by:Monica Edinger, illustrated by:Robert Byrd- (Candlewick, 2013)64 pages.

Magulu, a 9-year-old from the Mende region in Sierra Leone captured by slave traders and taken to Cuba, offers the focal point for this little-known chapter in the history of slavery. Upon being sold in Cuba, she ends up on the Amistad, a 19th century Spanish slave ship. There, the Mende captives revolt against their captors, free themselves, and demand to be taken back to Sierra Leone. This book recounts the abduction, mutiny, and legal trials that ensue — all from young Magulu’s point of view.

Perfect for:Teaching kids about the abolition movement.

FindAfrica Is My Homeat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (3)


by:Cornelia Funke- (Scholastic, 2003)534 pages.

Meggie’s life changed forever one rainy night when she looked out the window and saw a stranger standing outside her window. This was her first sighting of Dustfinger, one of many colorful characters that her father brought to life from the pages of the book Inkheart. Meggie’s father, Mo, has a special talent —when he reads aloud, characters from the book switch places with people from the outside world. In fact, Meggie does not know this yet, but this is how her own mother disappeared nine years before. Now, the evil Capricorn wants another character brought to life, and is determined to have Mo read aloud. This fascinating multi-layered story is an enjoyable but dark read for anyone who loves a good story within a story.

Want to see the movie? The 2009 adaptation stars Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren and stays fairly close to the book’s storyline.

Perfect for:Kids who like science fiction and fantasy.

FindInkheartat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (4)

The Sisters Grimm Book One: The Fairy-Tale Detectives

by:Michael Buckley- (Scholastic, 2007)284 pages.

Have you read the Brothers Grimm classic book of fairy tales? Did you think they were “just stories”? That is what sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm thought until their parents mysteriously disappeared one day. After being shuffled through several foster homes, they end up with a woman named Relda Grimm. Relda claims to be their grandmother and informs the sisters that the fairy tales are actually historical events collected by their ancestors, whose role has always been to maintain the fragile peace between the humans and the Everafters, the proper term for fairy-tale creatures. Daphne, the younger sister, loves Relda and their new life, while Sabrina is skeptical. Everything changes, however, when their grandmother and Mr. Canis, the butler, are kidnapped by a giant and the girls have no choice but to rescue their newfound family.

Perfect for:Kids who like science fiction and fantasy.

FindThe Sisters Grimm Book One: The Fairy-Tale Detectivesat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (5)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by:E.L. Konigsburg- (Simon & Schuster, 1967)162 pages.

Twelve-year-old Claudia and her younger brother Jamie are running away from the tyranny of unappreciative parents and the drudgery of day-to-day living. Claudia has carefully hand-picked the beautiful Metropolitan Museum of Art as their new home. There they quite unexpectedly stumble upon an unknown statue by none other than Michelangelo…or is it? Winner of the 1967 Newbery Award.

Perfect for:Kids who like mysteries.

FindFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweilerat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (6)

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by:Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by:Bagram Ibatoulline- (Candlewick Press, 2006)228 pages.

Edward Tulane is a smug china rabbit owned by a little girl who loves and cherishes him. But everything changes for the not-so-nice rabbit when he’s launched into the sea during an ocean voyage. Tulane begins a tumultuous adventure that takes him from the bottom of the sea to the busy streets of Memphis. His travels frighten him, but also show him how to love. Gorgeous illustrations enhance the moving narrative.

Perfect for:Kids who like fantasy stories.

FindThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulaneat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (7)


by:Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by:Marla Frazee- (Hyperion, 2006)144 pages.

The hook:Clementine, a precocious third grader, is paying attention. Really, she is. It’s just that there are so many more interesting things to pay attention to than the teacher, like the janitor embracing the lunch lady. And she’s not skipping school because of that haircut disaster, it’s because she must have caught arthritis from Mrs. Jacobi. Clementine’s mischievous but well-intentioned antics, coupled with the lively pen-and-ink drawings in this seven-book series, will attract early readers ready for chapter books and younger readers looking for a read-aloud treat (especially fans of the Ramona books).

Perfect for:
Kids entertained by a little mischief.

Findour favoritesat your local library:Clementine,Clementine: Friend of the Week,Clementine and the Family Meeting.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (8)

The Cello of Mr. O

by:Jane Cutler, illustrated by:Greg Couch- (Dutton Children's Books, 1999)32 pages.

Sarajevo is the unnamed, bombed-out setting in this somber view of wartime. The cold, famished, despairing residents enjoy brief pleasure and relief every Wednesday at 4 o’clock when Mr. O plays his cello in the square. A triumphant reminder that art can transcend the ugliness of war, with luminous illustrations.

Perfect for:Kids who like music.

FindThe Cello of Mr. Oat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (9)

Where the Sidewalk Ends

by:Shel Silverstein, illustrated by:Shel Silverstein- (Harper & Row, 1974)176 pages.

Fantastical tales and common childhood fears and habits (the dentist, snakes, nose picking, etc.) are the chosen topics here, in the best selling children’s poetry book ever. Exuberant cartoons— by the author himself — amplify the humor. Simultaneously outrageous and profound, it connects deeply with young imaginations. Delightful to read out loud over and over.

Perfect for:Kids who like wild stories, humor, or poetry.

FindWhere the Sidewalk Endsat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (10)


by:Seymour Simon- (Morrow Junior Books, 1989)32 pages.

Brilliant full-color photographs of thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes accompany the factual text of this beautiful informational book. Simon carefully explains how storms form and describes the havoc they wreak on humans who are still fascinated with the power of weather. Simon includes not only what we do know, but also what we don’t, in a book that sheds light on all those mysterious symbols, diagrams and maps on the weather channel.

Perfect for:Kids who like science and nature.

FindStormsat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (11)

Where the Red Fern Grows

by:Wilson Rawls- (Laurel Leaf, 1997)304 pages.

It’s the Depression and money is tight in the Ozarks, but Billy finally saves enough to buy two coon hound puppies. Billy raises Old Dan and Little Ann to be great hunters and the three take first prize in a hunting contest. But when his dogs tree a mountain lion, Billy faces painful lessons about loss and growing up. Although kids may not relate to the harsh realities of rural life in the 1930s, they’ll connect with the raw, deeply emotional details in this coming-of-age classic.

Want to see the movie? Check out the classic adaptation from 1974.

Perfect for:Kids who love universal coming-of-age stories.

FindWhere the Red Fern Growsat your local library.

Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (12)

So You Want to Be President?

by:Judith St. George, illustrated by:David Small- (Philomel Books, 2000)56 pages.

Books about the presidents are usually boring, but not this one. This is a lighthearted look at the presidency, including the ages, looks, backgrounds, occupations, pets, favorite sports and personalities of the men who’ve lived in the White House. St. George outlines the positive points about being president (big house with its own swimming pool, bowling alley and movie theater) and negative points (having to dress up, never get to go anywhere alone and lots of homework). David Small’s cartoon-style illustrations add to the fun. The book concludes with the oath of office, and there is an appended list of brief biographical sketches of each of the presidents. This would be a timely read with the presidential race that’s already beginning.

Perfect for:Kids who like history.

FindSo You Want to Be President?at your local library.

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Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (13)Booklists


Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers (14)

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Books to challenge gifted 3rd grade readers? ›

They must also be able to decode dozens of multisyllabic words, such as pho-to-graph and est-i-mate, as well as read grade-level irregularly spelled words such as enough, especially, and confusion. Your child should be able to read fairly accurately and fluently (not stumbling over too many words).

How can I help my 3rd grader struggle with reading? ›

7 Tips for Building Better Independent Reading Skills in Grades 3...
  1. Read aloud with your child. ...
  2. Encourage all reading. ...
  3. Record (and look up) unknown words. ...
  4. Encourage reading for information. ...
  5. Discuss the books your child is reading. ...
  6. Expect plateaus. ...
  7. Set a good example.
Mar 10, 2022

How do you challenge advanced readers? ›

5 Tips from Teachers on How to Challenge Advanced Readers
  1. Encourage your child to think beyond the story. ...
  2. Keep reading alongside them. ...
  3. Encourage them to journal about what they read. ...
  4. Explore mystery books with them. ...
  5. Use books to show your child new worlds.
Oct 6, 2022

How not to start third grade reading level? ›

How Not to Start Third Grade
  1. ISBN: 9780375839047.
  2. Author: Hapka, Cathy / Titlebaum, Ellen / Palen, Debbie (ILT)
  3. Series Title: Step into Reading Ser.
  4. Annotation: Will should be excited to start third grade. ...
  5. Reading Level: M.
  6. AR/ATOS Level Range: 2.5-2.9.
  7. Publish Year: 2007.

How well can 3rd graders read? ›

They must also be able to decode dozens of multisyllabic words, such as pho-to-graph and est-i-mate, as well as read grade-level irregularly spelled words such as enough, especially, and confusion. Your child should be able to read fairly accurately and fluently (not stumbling over too many words).

What is the best intervention for struggling readers? ›

The most commonly used strategy to improve reading fluency is the reading and rereading of familiar texts. Opportunities to read aloud, with guidance from teachers, peers or parents, are also associated with the development of fluent reading.

How do you improve reading fluency in 3rd grade? ›

Practice Activities

Choral Reading: Practice reading the same text aloud chorally (together and in unison) with the child. Echo Reading: Model expression while reading to the child. Then, have the child read the same sentence or phrase fluently. Watch Echo Reading.

How do you challenge gifted students in reading comprehension? ›

Smart Strategies to Try with Gifted Readers
  1. Don't worry too much about learning styles. ...
  2. Offer a menu of book ideas. ...
  3. Connect reading to activities your child already loves. ...
  4. Plan extension activities and use higher level questioning before, during, and after reading.
Feb 25, 2019

How do you teach gifted readers? ›

Tips for Engaging Advance Readers
  1. Provide high interest book hooks that expose children to many different topics.
  2. Provide exposure to challenging reading by introducing different genres and types of reading experience.
Aug 1, 2022

What percentage of 3rd graders Cannot read? ›

State leaders need to recognize that learning to read is a civil right and must “get off the fence” and “take responsibility” for the fact that more than 60% of California third graders are reading below grade level, panelists said Thursday during an EdSource roundtable discussion on early literacy.

What letter reading level should a 3rd grader be at? ›

The lettered reading levels correlating to third grade are N, O and P. So, typically, a child should be at a level N in the fall and advance to level P by the end of the year. However, some children may be below or above this range. If a child falls too far below this range, a parent may be concerned.

What do 3rd graders struggle with? ›

Third Grade | Struggling Readers

“1 in 5 kids in the U.S. struggle with issues related to reading, writing, math, focus and organization. These kids with learning issues are as smart as their peers, but too many aren't getting the support they need to succeed.”

How long should a 3rd grader read each day? ›

Reading together 20 minutes every day teaches most school readiness skills (e.g., vocabulary, counting, colors, social skills, etc.).

What does a 3rd grade reading level look like? ›

Third grade reading focuses on teaching kids how to think and talk about what they read in deeper and more detailed ways. Students read longer texts, and most read fictional chapter books. Many reading lessons in 3rd grade are dedicated to writing and talking about the meanings, lessons, and important ideas in texts.

What is the most important grade for reading? ›

Experts tell us a child's ability to read at grade level by third grade is the single greatest predictor of future success, because this is when they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

What are the three types of struggling readers? ›

This article reviews research on three common patterns of poor reading: specific word-reading difficulties, specific reading-comprehension difficulties, and mixed reading difficulties.

How do teachers help struggling readers? ›

Shared reading is a great method for boosting the confidence of struggling readers. As the teacher activates knowledge, the readers are beginning to identify potential vocabulary that may be used in the text. Students can join in when they are ready to participate.

What causes struggling readers? ›

Some major causes of poor reading comprehension include ADHD, dyslexia, difficult text, limited vocabulary, working memory deficit, and more. You may also have trouble comprehending what you're reading if you are disinterested or bored.

How many sight words should a 3rd grader know? ›

Children should aim to learn 300 or more sight words, or commonly read words, by the end of the 3rd grade. The purpose of learning sight words is for children to use them in context when they're reading.

How many words per minute should a 3rd grader be able to read? ›

For example, according to one published norm, students should be reading approximately 60 words per minute correctly by the end of first grade, 90-100 words per minute correctly by the end of second grade, and approxi- mately 114 words per minute correctly by the end of third grade.

Why do kids struggle with reading fluency? ›

Possible root cause(s) of problems with automaticity and fluency include: Problems with phonological skills, and/or phonics and decoding, leading to inefficient and labored decoding and difficulty developing automatic recognition of words.

Can gifted kids struggle with reading? ›

This problem is especially common, we have found, among intellectually gifted children. The reason is that these children are able to use strong higher-order language skills to compensate for the low-level deficits in auditory and visual processing that cause the reading problems in dyslexia.

What to do with gifted students who finish early? ›

Early Finishers: 9 Ideas for Students
  1. The best defense is a good offense. First, a couple of big ideas. ...
  2. Go beyond the book. Bringing a book (or ten) is most GT students' default. ...
  3. Zentangle. ...
  4. Labyrinth. ...
  5. Memorizing Something. ...
  6. Tiny Exercise. ...
  7. Mental Math. ...
  8. Mindfulness.

What is considered a gifted reader? ›

Children who have exceptional ability in reading and working with text information are considered gifted readers (Mason & Au, 1990). Gifted readers read voraciously, perform well above their grade levels, possess advanced vocabularies and do well on tests (Vacca, Vacca & Gove, 1991).

How do I know if my child is gifted in reading? ›

Signs of Giftedness in Children Include:

an ability to learn and process complex information rapidly. a need to explore subjects in surprising depth. an insatiable curiosity, as demonstrated by endless questions and inquiries. ability to comprehend material several grade levels above their age peers.

How do gifted kids learn best? ›

Intellectually gifted students learn at a faster pace than their classmates, sometimes, for example, needing two repetitions of a math concept instead of 30. Not only do they process concepts more quickly, but they also make complex connections.

What is Hyperlexic? ›

Hyperlexia is advanced and unexpected reading skills and abilities in children way beyond their chronological age. It is a fairly recently named condition (1967) although earlier descriptions of precocious reading do exist.

What does excessive reading as a child mean? ›

Hyperlexia is a syndrome characterized by a child's precocious ability to read. It was initially identified by Norman E. Silberberg and Margaret C. Silberberg (1967), who defined it as the precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read, typically before the age of five.

How do you move students up in reading levels? ›

Five Strategies to Help Improve Students' Reading Levels
  1. Read all the time. The more students read, the more likely they will see their reading levels go up. ...
  2. Read out loud. Students who struggle with reading may benefit from hearing others read. ...
  3. Read it again. ...
  4. Talk about reading. ...
  5. Find the right book.
May 30, 2018

Is third grade the hardest grade? ›

Are you aware that the transition from second to third grade is often considered to be one of the most difficult years in your child's education? Most educators are aware of this big leap, but many parents may not be.

How many words should a 3rd grader read in a year? ›

The following are the number of words students should be able to read correctly at the end of each year: 1st grade: 60. 2nd grade: 90. 3rd grade: 115.

What level of reading is Harry Potter? ›

What grade level are the Harry Potter books written at? Is Harry Potter YA or Middle Grade? The Harry Potter book series is Middle Grade, not YA (Young Adult). This means it is generally written for children ages 8-12 and grade levels 3-7.

What reading level is Junie B Jones? ›

Shop by Program:
Reading LevelInterest Level
Junie B. Jones And A Little Monkey Business Series: Junie B. Jones (Book: 2) Park, Barbara 9780679838869 Fiction PaperbackM1-3
Junie B. Jones And Her Big Fat Mouth Series: Junie B. Jones (Book: 3) Park, Barbara 9780679844075 Fiction PaperbackM1-3
18 more rows

What is the most stressful grade in school? ›

And while high school is full of new experiences, many of which can cause students stress, junior year has a reputation as the most stressful of the four years of high school.

What is the hardest year with a child? ›

For some parents, infancy is the hardest. For others, it's toddlerhood. Some parents feel that the preschool years present special challenges.

What class do kids struggle with the most? ›

More than half of parents struggled with the same school subject as their kids do now, new research suggests. A recent survey of 2,000 parents found that 56% felt most overwhelmed by math class as students, while 51% of their school-age children feel the same way today.

How do you help a struggling reader in 3rd grade? ›

They can use worksheets, graphic organizers or other tools for lessons. Children who struggle with comprehension might benefit from graphic organizers that help them break down story details into easy chunks. Parents also can teach children the habit of re-reading text and chunking text to help with comprehension.

What age should a child read fluently? ›

Reading fluency occurs when a child has developed the knowledge and skills to recognize words automatically, accurately and quickly. This usually develops at ages 7 to 8.

What level should 8 year old be reading? ›

Elementary Level: Children ages 8 to 12, or 4th through 6th grades. These children read sentences of approximately 10 words, with the maximum number of words being 20. Most books written at this level range between 20,000 and 40,000 words.

What should a 3rd grader know by the end of the year? ›

Third-grade math expects students to know their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division fact families and use them in equations and two-step word problems. In addition, 3rd graders need to know how to: Read and write large numbers through the hundred thousands, knowing the place value for each digit.

Should a third grader be able to read? ›

By the beginning of third grade, kids are expected to be able to do basic writing, editing, and revising. They're also expected to have mastered basic reading skills and start focusing on comprehension.

What should 3rd grade reading fluency be? ›

Goal. The goal for the beginning of 3rd grade is that children can read 80-90 words a minute. By the end of the year they will build up to reading 120 words a minute. Fluency also means the reader can read the same way as they talk, using expression and changing their voice to reflect what is happening in the story.

What grade level do most Americans read? ›

Average Reading Level In The U.S.

The average American reads at the 7th- to 8th-grade level, according to The Literacy Project.

What grade level is the average American reading? ›

The average American is considered to have a readability level equivalent to a 7th/8th grader (12 to 14 years old). This level is actively used as a benchmark for written guidelines in the medical industry.

What are the 3 basic reading techniques? ›

There are three different styles of reading academic texts: skimming, scanning, and in-depth reading. Each is used for a specific purpose.

How can a teacher help a child who is struggling to read? ›

The first is to get the child to focus on their other strengths, such as creating a piece of art or putting a puzzle together, before they practice reading. This can help them go into the reading task with their confidence boosted and pride intact. Another idea is to practice vowel sounds before tackling new words.

What causes a child to struggle to read? ›

Children may struggle with reading for a variety of reasons, including limited experience with books, speech and hearing problems, and poor phonemic awareness.

How do you encourage struggling readers to read? ›

Keep Up With Education Research
  1. BE INCLUSIVE. It is crucial to encourage as much success as possible when children are learning to read. ...

What are three symptoms of reading disorder? ›

What are the symptoms of reading disorders?
  • Problems sounding out words.
  • Difficulty recognizing sounds and the letters that make up those sounds.
  • Poor spelling.
  • Slow reading.
  • Problems reading out loud with correct expression.
  • Problems understanding what was just read.
Mar 5, 2020

Why is third grade so hard? ›

They have to read, comprehend, and translate knowledge in a way they are not previously accustomed to. There is more writing involved and getting ideas down on paper can be especially hard for many kids. Third grade also means more responsibility in the classroom and at home.

Why can't my child comprehend what he reads? ›

Cognitive or processing issues: Some children will struggle with reading comprehension due to difficulty thinking quickly or visually processing the information on the page. Children with intellectual disabilities or slower processing speed are likely to struggle with basic reading skills and reading comprehension.

Can kids behind in reading catch up? ›

While it is still possible to help an older child with reading, those beyond third grade require much more intensive help. The longer you wait to get help for a child with reading difficulties, the harder it will be for the child to catch up.

How do you teach students to be better readers? ›

Top 10 Strategies to Teach Reading
  1. Assess Student Ability First. ...
  2. Choral Reading/Partner Reading. ...
  3. Use Visual Aids. ...
  4. Assign Reading Buddies Across Ages & Grades. ...
  5. Implement Audiobooks. ...
  6. Teach Academic English. ...
  7. Have Students Summarize What They Read. ...
  8. Expose Students to Different Discourse Patterns.

How do you adapt gifted students lessons? ›

6 Ways to Differentiate Instruction for Gifted Students
  1. Create Tiered Assignments. ...
  2. Allow Gifted Students to Work at Their Own Pace. ...
  3. Offer Open-Ended or Self-Directed Assignments & Activities. ...
  4. Compact the Curriculum. ...
  5. Deliver Project-Based Learning. ...
  6. Pair Gifted Students Up.
May 3, 2022

How can I help my 8 year old become a better reader? ›

Helping Your Child Become a Reader
  1. Talk to your child. Feed your child a diet of rich language experiences throughout the day. ...
  2. Read Aloud. ...
  3. Test your child's eyes and ears. ...
  4. Choose child care carefully. ...
  5. Ask the teacher about your child's reading. ...
  6. Limit TV watching. ...
  7. Create a reading corner. ...
  8. Visit the library.

What increases reading level? ›

Read all the time

The more students read, the more likely they will see their reading levels go up. Make reading something the student does as often as possible. In the classroom, for example, reading should not be limited to language arts or silent reading time.

What level of reading is a 8 year old? ›

Elementary Level: Children ages 8 to 12, or 4th through 6th grades. These children read sentences of approximately 10 words, with the maximum number of words being 20. Most books written at this level range between 20,000 and 40,000 words.


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