Third Grade Reading Standards

By the time children exit 3rd grade they should be “reading to learn” instead of still learning to read. Reading at grade level by 3rd grade is a critical final milestone of early learning that sets the foundation for the rest of a child’s formal education, and the beginning of the rest of their formal education.

72% of 3rd graders meet or exceed reading standardsAdditionally, improving 3rd grade reading rates could also reduce high school drop-out rates. Of those children reading proficiently in 3rd grade, only four percent fail to graduate from high school, compared to 16 percent of children who are not reading proficiently. The drop-out rate for those who are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade more than doubles, to 35 percent, if the child has experienced poverty and lives in a poor neighborhood. Even for children experiencing some childhood poverty, reading at grade level greatly improves their chances for graduating from high school.


Data Source: Oregon Department of Education. “Reading Assessment.” Education Data Explorer. Accessed February 4, 2015.


  • Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation.” (January 2012). Accessed February 12, 2015.