Third grade is a year of beautiful discovery and soul-shaping challenges. It’s a season of adventure for both you and your child.

Most third graders still have a child’s innocent enthusiasm for life that allows them to embrace new experiences. It’s not without reason the catch phrase for this phase is “Sounds like fun!” Most third graders just have a naturally optimistic outlook.

And your child will need this optimism as they enter this school year with some very real educational challenges. For many kids, third grade is the year of fractions, multiplication tables, and grammar rules. This may also be the year your child’s mind awakens to the joy of reading for pleasure. Whether they’re into comic books, fanfiction, or classic favorites, hours can fly by as they devour book after book until the mystery is solved or the hero triumphs over evil.

Whatever this phase brings academically, your posture of encouragement, support, and unwavering love will set a positive tone for a future of life-long learning.

Most third graders are also blossoming in their social connections. The relationships they have with friends and other leaders outside of your family may begin to take on greater meaning this year. They may even have a best friend.

Of all the characteristics associated with third grade, it’s this social aspect I remember as the most formative part of my own third-grade experience. At that time, my family was living in Nicaragua, where my dad was engineering a major infrastructure development project. I was blessed to grow up in a family that loved Jesus. Giving my life to Him at a young age was the most natural thing for me to do.

But it was in the third grade when I began to make friends who had a different value system. My social interactions during this phase introduced thoughts and actions that were, for the first time, incongruent with my faith. And, as I recall, my third-grade year saw more parent/teacher meetings than any other!

I can’t tell you how thankful my tribe during that time of my life. From my parents to caring adults at church, to my third-grade teacher at school—each played a pivotal role as I navigated a critical time in my life. I was fortunate to belong to a strong community of people who greatly influenced my life as I learned to wade in the new waters of social pressure.

As you and your child enter this important third-grade phase, I pray that the new information and content you engage this year will be transformational. I pray you will be supported by strong relationships that surround you with wise counsel and good company. I pray you will enjoy extraordinary experiences together that God will use to help your child become more like Jesus. And I pray that the rhythms of your family’s routines will incorporate spiritual practices that encourage your child to love and follow Jesus through these amazing, adventurous 52 weeks that stretch before you and on into eternity.

– Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO of Compassion International

Parenting Your Third Grader

Parenting Your Third Grader simplifies what you need to know about third graders in general and gives you a place to discover more about your third grader—so you can make the most of this phase.

Your kid now has more permanent teeth than baby teeth, and you might be in one of the best phases of your child’s life. THIS IS THE PHASE WHEN FAIRNESS MATTERS MOST, DIFFERENCES GET NOTICED, AND YOUR ENTHUSIASTIC KID THINKS ANYTHING “SOUNDS LIKE FUN!”

Don’t have a third grader? We’ve got a book for every age at