2nd and 3rd grade reading activities become more heavily dependent on the reader, versus lower grades. These readers have likely mastered many skills as readers, but need assistance applying such skills to more challenging words. As a result, word work, fluency, and guided reading, play a large role in 2nd and 3rd grade reading.
Word Work for 2nd and 3rd Graders
Word work for 2nd and 3rd grade includes more multiple syllable words, as well as prefixes and suffixes. Readers have the chance to focus on words in isolation, before applying those skills to actual texts. Similar to students in earlier grade levels, students will practice putting words together, and breaking them down to smaller, or individual parts.
It’s important to help students recognize that phonics patterns they already know show up in longer words. Getting them to break down words into those smaller parts they already know allows them to decode words quicker.
At this stage, you can start with smaller words, like sun and shine, separately. Then have readers put the words together to read the whole word. This also works for words with affixes. Ask students to first read wise or safe, then add un- to the words. Students are then already confident in their ability to read the smaller parts of the word.
Fluency for 2nd and 3rd Graders
Fluency for 2nd and 3rd grade includes working on: accuracy, smoothness, expression, natural pace, and meaning. When students are able to focus on fluency as a whole, their overall reading abilities improve.
Students may be focusing on fluency with a specific focus on phonics via decodable texts. They may also be focusing on fluency via texts that are written at their independent reading levels.
The goal is to have students practice working on different aspects of fluency each day. This can be done in small groups, in centers, during independent reading time, or even at home.
Guided REading in 2nd and 3rd Grade
Guided reading in 2nd and 3rd grade includes the usual before, during, and after reading activities. Before reading, students are working on words, like discussed above. During reading, students are working on improving their ability to decode and read for meaning, independently. At this time of a small group lesson, they’re applying their knowledge learned during the word work portion of the lesson. After reading, students are focusing on comprehension.
In guided reading groups, in these grade levels, students may be reading longer passages, chapter books, or longer trade books. It’s important to use a combination of genres when considering book selection for these small groups. Students need exposure to a wide variety of texts, and genres. This way they can apply their knowledge of word decoding, to all sorts of content specific words.
While students are typically more advanced readers in these grade levels, it’s important to keep 2nd and 3rd grade reading activities engaging. This will help foster a love for reading and encourage readers to continue to make progress!