Assessment Alley: Third Grade Literacy Profile

Reading Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions

Literacy Profile
What Third Graders Should Know
Phonological Awareness and Oral Language Development
Concepts of Print, Letter Identification, and Text Features
Decoding Skills and Word Analysis
Reading Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Reading Accuracy and Fluency at Increasing Text Levels
Comprehension and Reading Response
Writing Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Conventions and Handwriting
Related Resources
Meet the Author


Reading strategies and dispositions include the processes students use to figure out the words and the meaning of what they are reading as well as the stamina, breadth, and depth of their reading.  This component involves the three cueing systems (phonological and visual/orthographic information, language structure, and meaning), use of self-correction during reading, and the comprehension strategies.

At third grade, these skills include:

         self-monitoring with fix-up strategies




         15-20 minutes of sustained silent reading

         reading approximately two chapters a day; two books a month


Elementary Reading Attitude Survey

Success in reading is largely dependent on motivation to read; motivation to read is often dependent on a student's self-perception of his or her reading ability.  Getting students to honestly reveal their true feelings about reading, however, is not always an easy task.  Too many young readers pretend to read, or refuse to engage in reading altogether. 


The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (developed by McKenna and Kear) can assess students' attitudes toward both academic and recreational reading.  Administered to individuals or entire classes, the ERAS features 20 statements about reading with four Garfield faces for each statement depicting feelings.  Students read the statement (or listen as the teacher reads) and then circle the angry, mildly upset, slightly happy, or enthusiastic Garfield that matches their feelings about the statement.


A scoring guide and grade-level specific tables are provided with the survey.  By calculating the number of each type of Garfield for the two sections of the survey (academic and recreational), teachers can determine which percentile students are in.  Higher percentiles show that students feel more positively about reading.  If a teacher determines that a student has negative feelings toward reading, he or she can implement interventions to improve the student's motivation and engagement.


To view the ERAS and administration materials, click here.


Reading Strategy Self Assessment and Conference

Many teachers and schools utilize reading strategies to improve comprehension instruction. Students are taught to visualize, connect, predict, infer, summarize, question, and synthesize. However, reading strategies do not develop on their own.  Systematic instruction, modeling, and monitoring are all needed to ensure students master these strategies.  A Strategy Self-Assessment paired with an individual reading conference can help teachers determine how effectively students are processing their reading.


After students have received instruction in the reading strategies, self-assessments can be given to the entire class.  The assessments consist of positive statements about reading strategy use.  Then, students check how frequently they use the strategies while reading.


The teacher previews these assessments before conferencing with individual students, using the student's book and self-assessment to guide the conversation.  The goal of the conference is to assess how accurately students completed the self-assessment in order to develop individual reading goals and lessons to improve their comprehension. 


View a sample Self Assessment form here.


Reading strategies and dispositions need careful cultivation in order for them to develop and thrive in children. To support the development of reading strategies, both explicit instruction and supported practice are essential, along with time for application and feedback.  Reading dispositions and habits should flourish, in most children, when they are engaged in a literate community (Biggam 99).  For students whose assessments show low self-efficacy or poor strategy use, the following interventions may be implemented.

Literacy Lunches

When students struggle to read, they tend to read less; this is the opposite of what we want!  Students with low recreational and academic scores on the ERAS are in need of reading disposition interventions.  An important goal as teachers is to reach these students to improve their self-efficacy and reading ability too. Michael Sullivan created literacy lunches to engage reluctant readers with books.  In literacy lunches, the teacher invites adults from the community (parents, older siblings, community leaders) to read aloud.  After brief book talks, students rank their choices of books to hear during lunch. Then, the teacher forms lunch groups around these books.  On a rotating basis, students eat lunch in the room, hear their books read aloud, and discuss their thoughts. 


View Michael Sullivan's website for more reading engagement ideas!



Think-alouds make strategy use transparent to students by slowing down the reading process and helping students think while reading.  After modeling think-alouds during interactive reading, guided reading, and even reading conferences, struggling students can be provided with a list of generic think alouds to use during independent reading.  In this way, students are expected to gradually take over responsibility for their own strategy use.  Two sample prompts include, "I don't understand..." or "I am picturing..."


Soar to Success is another small-group intervention program that targets comprehension strategies through reciprocal teaching.

Last updated: April 16, 2009