Third grade is a year of growth spurts: physically, academically and socially. The cognitive skills that are important for third grade are those that help your child move from a very concrete learner to a more abstract thinker, able to apply ideas in a number of different situations.
Cognitive Skills Important for 3rd Grade
Skill: Is able to skip count by a variety of different numbers (count by 2, by 5, by 10, etc.).
Why It's Important: By third grade, most students have been able to skip count for a while but it's not the actual counting that's important. It's the ability to connect the patterns of skip counting with multiplication facts. Being able to understand that counting by five is really reciting the multiplication table makes it much easier to learn multiplication and division.
Skill: Incorporates literacy skills into everyday language and vice versa.
Why It's Important: Your third grader is becoming a more fluent and discerning reader, able to grasp the meaning of words via context clues. His burgeoning vocabulary will not only begin to reflect the new words and styles of speech he is able to read, but also help him make connections between word roots, prefixes and suffixes.
Skill: Able to create number sentences (math problems) from word problems.
Why It's Important: This ability is the first in a number of important cognitive skills that combine language and mathematical thinking. Your child is not only beginning to understand how words can represent numbers, but also recognize certain key words that indicate the order of operations. For istance, your child may now be able to tell you that the word "fewer" or the phrase "not as many as" is a clue that a problem will include subtraction.
Skill: Asks question after question to obtain specific knowledge or better understand a topic.
Why It's Important: While for some people, this skill may seem more like nosiness and annoyance than curiosity and persistence, it's a skill to be cultivated. One of the most important things a student can learn is how to learn.
Asking questions about things, confirming information she's already received and trying to find out where she can learn more about a topic sets your child well on the road to being a self-guided, lifelong learner.
More About 3rd Grade Skills and Milestones:
A Parent's Guide to Third Grade
Physical Skills That Are Important for 3rd Grade
What Your Child Will Learn in 3rd Grade
Signs of Trouble With Learning in 3rd Grade
What You Can Expect in 3rd Grade