Third graders are enthusiastic readers, with preferences for particular themes and genres and opinions about everything they read. Here are seven third grade reading comprehension activities that will help them dig deeper into what they’re reading and build skills to carry them to the next level.

1. Make a paper chain of connections.

Paper chains made of students' text connections hanging on a poster

Source: Literacy in Focus

Good readers make connections as they read. Track your students’ connections with this engaging visual activity from Brooke at Literacy in Focus. First, students write their connections on colored strips of paper (each type of connection is made on a different color). Next, students link up their connections and attach them to the corresponding text connections label or poster (see the example bulletin board below). Links can be added throughout the year as new texts are read. The link-up activity makes a great visual representation of the entire text connections process.

2. Build inference skills.

Student worksheet with a photo in the middle and written comments around it

Source: The Teacher Next Door

Check out this blog for eight fun activities to build students’ inference skills, including watching short films, reading wordless books, and using picture task cards.

3. Bat around a beach ball.

Inflatable balls and cubes with reading comprehension questions written in sections

Source: Conversations in Literacy

Using a Sharpie marker, write different questions for students to answer about the book they are reading. Hit different elements such as character, problem and solution, setting, connections, predictions, etc.  Kids will have a blast batting the inflatables around as they build comprehension skills.

4. Pair learning with movement.

10 Fast-Paced Tag Games for Children

Source: First Cry Parenting

According to instructor Clio Stearns, Ph.D., “Kinesthetic games allow third graders to put their bodies to use alongside their minds and can be particularly helpful for students who do not like to sit still or who benefit from multi-sensory approaches to learning.”

One of her ideas for boosting reading comprehension is to run a nonfiction relay race. This activity is great after reading a nonfiction book or article together. Break students into teams and head to the gym or outdoors. Set up a racecourse, for instance 100 yards marked off by flags or one lap around the track. The first student on each team will run the course, and once they return, and before the next student in line can run, must repeat one fact they learned from the reading. The first team to have all runners complete the course wins. 

Another fun activity is character tag. Again, head outside and let the students begin a game of tag. A player is safe from the tagger if they squat down and shout out a detail about the main character in his or her book. You can modify this activity to include different aspects of comprehension you are working on with your class.

5. Hold a Book Character day.

Children dressed up as book characters

Source: Shanneva

Kids love Book Character day! It gives them a chance to show how much they really know about one of their favorite characters. Encourage them to dress as their character and carry props that are part of their story. Maybe they’d even like to act like, and talk in the voice of, their character. Be sure to set aside time for each student to tell their classmates about the character they chose and why.

6. Play a board game.

Comprehension board game

Source: Comprehension Game Trio/Amazon

There are many fun games that boost literacy skills, including Scrabble, Story Cubes, Tall Tales, Headbanz, and more. Try this fun board game, available on Amazon, which has three different games that students can play to boost their reading comprehension. Put it on your classroom wishlist!

7. Track your thinking with sticky notes.

According to Home Reading Helper, one great way for students to remember and internalize what they read is by using sticky notes. Using these symbols as a guide, students place a sticky note with the appropriate symbol next to a line in a book to show their thinking as they read.

LOL = funny part

? = confusing part

 = favorite part

* = important part

Looking for more ways to encourage third grade reading comprehension? Check out our list of over 60 best third grade books.

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Third Grade Reading Comprehension Activities Your Students Will Love