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    ELA - Reading and Writing

     April, May, and June News

    Reading - April, May, June News

    The third graders continue to grow as readers.  Much of March was spent helping the children prepare for the New York State ELA test.  Since this was the first year the children completed the ELA state test, it was important that they learn more about the format of the state test and the procedures associated with the testing.  What does the ELA look like? What does the ELA feel like? How does a good reader approach a test?

    Within this work, the children learned more about reading a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts and answering questions.  They continued to learn about identifying the evidence and details within a text to support their thinking. As we read and discussed texts together, in whole groups, small groups, partnerships, and conferences, we continued to identify the text evidence that supported our thinking.  Many times we would use the sentence starter, “I know this because…” to prompt our thinking.

    The children continued to learn how to transition their thinking from one genre, or text type, to another quickly.  We spoke about strategies that good readers use to help them better understand the genre they are reading. Identifying the genre helps the reader better comprehend and understand the text.  Once readers understand the type of text they are reading (examples: mystery, fable, poetry), they can begin to use strategies to help them best understand the information.

    The class dove into our ocean study.  They were so proud to share all of their research based upon different ocean animals.

    Writing – April, May, June News

    The children continue to be involved in a variety of activities which enable them to develop and grow as writers.  At this point in the school year, it is an expectation that the children begin sentences with a capital letter and end with a period.  They are also reminded to use question marks and exclamation marks when applicable. When rereading your child’s writing, please remind your child about the importance of this grade level expectation.  Thank you.

    The third graders have been learning more about and practicing paragraph format.  We are learning more about main idea, details, and a concluding sentence. As writers, the children are reminded to indent for the main idea.  They also started to learn how to categorize their ideas/topics into separate paragraphs. We will expand upon this during our inform ocean research unit.

    As with reading, the children learned more about written reading responses as connected to the ELA test and different texts.  Although completing reading responses throughout the school year, the children focused on both short responses and extended responses based on specific text questions.  They learned about echoing, or repeating, a part of the question in their written response. We continued to focus on the importance of using specific text evidence, or details, to support their writing.  In addition, the children learned about the importance of underlining or highlighting text evidence that supports their thinking.

    The children are encouraged to use thinking maps as a way to help them better develop and organize their thinking.  Be sure to ask your child about which thinking maps have been the most helpful to them as writers!

    Finally, the children have been practicing cursive.  They are reminded about the importance of posture and using a sharpened pencil when writing.  They are learning how to write the lowercase and uppercase letters and connecting the letters to form words.  Many of the children are very excited to write in cursive. They continue to need support when forming the letters - especially connections from the lower case letters b and o.  If you notice your child writing cursive at home and using the incorrect letter formations, please model how to properly write the letters at home. That support will greatly reinforce the work we are completing in school as I do not want the incorrect cursive letter formations to become a habit for them.  Thank you. This will be reviewed and built upon in the fourth grade.

    The children learned more about nonfiction based, informative research writing through their ocean animal research work.

    January, February, and March News


    The children continue to grow as readers.  We are focusing on a variety of comprehension skills and strategies to help the children better develop their understanding around texts.  We continue to focus on the importance of reading with expression and fluency while paying attention to punctuation.  

    As the third graders grow as readers, a lot of reading development is based around the comprehension of fiction and nonfiction texts.  The students are taught to stop and think about the text in front of them.  

    There are certain questions they ask themselves to help get better prepared as a reader.  Some questions include:

    • What type of genre is this text? 
    •  What do I know about that genre?  
    • How can this help me better think about and understand the text in front of me?

    As readers, the children are practicing the importance of looking for the text evidence to support their thinking.  When monitoring for meaning and discussing texts they are asked to identify the specific text evidence, or details, that support their thinking.  Many times the children are encouraged to use the phrase, “I know this because…” to help better represent their thinking.  

    The third graders all read texts written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco.  Through this work, the children had the opportunity to delve deeply into an author’s life and body of work. Students were taught to critically evaluate an author’s themes, characters, setting and writing style, while making connections between the author’s life and work.  The children also made personal connections between their own experiences and those of Patricia Polacco and her characters.  Be sure to ask your child about some of the texts read together as a class, in partnerships, or in small groups.  

    Remember the best way to grow as a reader is to READ!  Please continue to encourage your children to read a variety of texts, and have discussions with your children based around these texts.


    The third graders write for a variety of purposes each week.  At this point in the school year, it is a grade level expectation that the children begin sentences/questions/exclamations with a capital letter and end with a period/question mark/exclamation point.  When reviewing your child’s writing at home, please review to ensure that the correct punctuation is in place (., ?, or !).  

    The children are also learning about paragraphs.  They are learning how to organize their writing using a main idea, supporting details, and a concluding statement.  This will be ongoing writing work throughout the remainder of the school year.  In addition, the children reflect about their reading by answering a variety of questions.  The children are learning how to write more thoughtful reading responses that include a part of the question in their written responses.

    Finally, the third graders have been learning about the features of book/life recommendations.  They are also learning about short and extended reading responses.  

    Some of the features included are:

    • Strong opening statement
    • Text organized around central ideas or opinions
    • Supporting details or evidence from the text
    • Variety of sentence types to ensure fluency
    • Words that link opinions to examples from whatever is being reviewed (specifically, for example, in fact, to illustrate)
    • Conclusion that summarizes

    The children continue to show excitement based around cursive instruction. We continue to discuss the importance of body posture and letter formations. The children especially enjoy writing and reading words in cursive!  Many children are writing a variety of words in cursive.  If you notice your child writing cursive at home, please review their writing to ensure they are using the correct letter formations and connections.  Thank you.

    Reading - November/December News

    In the reading workshop, the children continue to choose "just-right" books to read independently. Through these texts the students try to practice all the skills and strategies from class.  We continue to carefully look at mentor texts to support both our ideas about reading and writing.  The children are working on using all the text features to help them make predictions, as well as support them with explaining their thoughts.  They are learning to use text evidence to support their thinking, and are reminded to use the sentence starter, “I think this because…”  They are also working on strategies to figure out unfamiliar words, such as using context clues and looking at the word length.  Vocabulary instruction is under way, and extremely important to enhance the comprehension of a text.

    We have been carefully examining the characters in the stories we read and we are talking about how they change throughout the stories.  We also discuss how their actions can affect the other characters.  Visualizing the text and creating pictures in our minds to help with comprehension is another strategy we have been practicing.  

    We continue to discuss the habits of “good readers.”  The children are always reminded to think about the following three questions:

    • Does it look right?

    • Does it sound right?

    • Does it make sense?


    Writing - November/December News

    The children worked incredibly hard on their personal narratives.  They learned how to hook the reader with an interesting beginning, and how to bring closure to their stories with a satisfying ending.  Other craft lessons included stretching out the most important moment and writing with descriptive language using the five senses.  Students were very excited to share their personal narratives at our class cultural holiday celebration on Thursday, December 23rd.  You can view all the personal narratives by visiting our Google Classroom page.

    The children are also focusing on word work.  We are looking at the spelling patterns within different words.  We continue to develop vocabulary, proofreading, and editing skills through our word work study as well.  High frequency word assessments will be administered when we return to school in January.  This will enable me to better differentiate word work for the children moving forward.


    Reading - September/October News

    We are a community of readers!  The beginning of the school year focuses on the "readerly life."  During this time we establish our expectations for Reading Workshop.  The children are learning about the habit and routines of the reading workshop time.  I have been getting to know the children as readers through both formal and informal assessments. This time is incredibly helpful for planning differentiated instruction moving forward.

    We already know that good readers, "stop and think."  Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense?  Good readers always "stop and think" when they are reading and ask themselves these questions.  Mrs. Mancini's class is filled with "good readers." Throughout the school year we will focus on strategies and skills that good readers use to deepen their comprehension of texts in a variety of genres.

    The children listened to many different stories over the first few weeks of school. We enjoy discussing the different texts, the characters, the problems, and the solutions. Please ask your child about some of the books we read together.

    The children are "reading detectives."  They are learning about the importance of using text evidence to support their ideas and claims about a text.  They are already answering questions together and learning how to identify the key ideas and details that help them answer questions, deepen their understanding, and, ultimately, to better understand the text they are reading.  We continue to build reading with fluency and expression while incorporating reading strategies that enable readers to better comprehend a variety of texts. Very soon we will be meeting in small groups reading and analyzing texts together.


    Writing - September/October News

    We all have stories to tell!  The children are learning about the expectations for Writing Workshop.  We are sharing stories together. Everyone enjoyed reviewing the special writing notebooks decorated by the children.  Each notebook was unique and told many different stories. 

    The children are very busy writers.  The children created their own "Maps of the Heart."  Be sure to ask your child about some of the people, places, animals, and things he/she included on his/her "Map of the Heart."  

    Beginning next week, the children will learn more about personal narratives.  They know that we all have stories to tell. Recently, they brought in special items from home to orally tell stories about.  Following this, they started to write about their special items and personal stories in their notebooks. The children have been working on writing with stamina over the past few weeks.  This means writing for a long period of time. Soon the children will begin the process of choosing a topic to write a personal narrative story. They will learn more about the writing process through this unit of study.

    The third graders are getting ready to begin word work through a brand new word work program K-4 at Concord Road School.  This will include focusing on proofreading and editing skills while reviewing the appropriate spelling of third grade core words.  The word work program will begin to focus more on word patterns and it will become differentiated to the individual needs of the children based on beginning of the school year assessments.