Year 3 home learning: 7 key areas to focus on
These are seven of the key areas covered in Year 3, and some strategies for how you can teach them. It's certainly not a complete list of what they would have been introduced to in the classroom, but if you can help your child understand these topics, they’ll be in a really strong position for starting Year 4.
Year 3 English key area: punctuation
In school, because of the size of classes, teachers tend to whizz through many forms of punctuation teaching, and children can be left with huge gaps in their knowledge. TheSchoolRun has guides to using all punctuation marks correctly, from full stops to apostrophes and dashes, but in Year 3 the punctuation mark to focus on is the comma.
Practise using commas; if your child can learn how to use them accurately by the end of Year 3 they’ll be in a really good place. Show them how to use commas in a list, and instead of brackets. For example:
Milk, bread, oranges and tea.
I went to the park, with the dog, to meet Susie.
Have them practise writing sentences with commas, and point them out in books that you’re reading, too.
Punctuation at-home strategy:
Whenever there’s a list to be written, ask your child to write it, first with bullet points, then in a sentence with commas to separate items. Try to always keep your learning ‘real’ like this to boost motivation (theirs and yours!).
Year 3 English key area: getting more out of stories
In Year 3, children are taught to identify features (such as specific words and forms of punctuation) that writers use in order to provoke reaction from the reader.
When you read stories together, note any interesting, rich language (referred to in school as "wow words" or "powerful verbs"). Look for punctuation such as exclamation marks. Discuss how the use of punctuation and wonderful vocabulary changes the way we read.
Encourage your child to practise reading with expression, being guided by the punctuation and adding in different voices for difference characters if they want! Use familiar stories for this, so it’s less focused on the decoding of the words, and more on the rhythm and pace.
Getting more out of stories at-home strategy:
One of the best things you could do for your child during this time is encourage them to enjoy reading for reading’s sake – so don’t dampen their enthusiasm by breaking down books every time you read together, stick to doing this in your English sessions. Make sure you make time for plenty of reading that’s just for the fun of it, too.
Year 3 English key area: non-fiction writing
In Year 3 children learn about formats and layouts for writing.
Have a look at some journalistic writing – you might want to be very selective about the news your child is exposed to at the moment, but First News is a really good bet for child-friendly news stories to work from. Ask them to look at the titles, the sub-headings and how the paragraphs are structured. Encourage your child to write their own newspaper story, using the same format and structure.
There is a wealth of educational magazines available for children, so you could consider taking out a subscription to offer your child topical reading material delivered through the post.
Non-fiction writing at-home strategy:
When doing some non-fiction writing, the first thing we need to do is decide who the reader is. What do they already know? What are the most important things for them to learn? For example, if writing about the coronavirus outbreak, your child might like to direct their writing at their past self, at a person who has been cut off from the world and is unaware of the situation or even choose to explain it to an alien from another planet! By writing for all three audiences they’d get a great understanding of how the way facts are described is subject to change, based on the reader.
Year 3 maths key area: estimating
Being able to estimate is a key area of maths throughout primary school. In Year 3, children should be able to check their estimates with more accurate measuring.
If your child is unsure about what an estimate is, explain it as a ‘clever guess’ – ie a guess that you’ve given lots of thought to. When estimating, you use what you do know to work out what you don’t (for example, your child might know that their ruler is 30cm long, so be able to estimate that a book that's slightly shorter is 25cm long).
Estimating at-home strategy:
Set them an estimation measurement challenge. Draw a table with three columns – one for the name of the objects they’re to measure, one for their estimate and one for the actual measurement. Have them walk around the house, looking for objects to estimate the height and width of, then ask them to measure them, carefully, with a ruler or tape measure. Demonstrate how to measure carefully, with the 0 right at the end of the object.
Year 3 maths key area: counting in multiples
It's a good idea to use tangible resources from time to time when doing the counting, to give them a sense of what the numbers ‘look like’ – for example, you could use coins for 2s, 5s, 10s, and 50s or draw arrays to represent the numbers pictorially (TheSchoolRun's explanation of the concrete pictorial abstract approach in maths is useful reading).
Counting in multiples at-home strategy:
As with all things times tables related, regular practice is what’s key here.
A few times a week, at the start of your maths sessions, say you’re going to warm their maths brains up with some counting and just go for it! If they’re not confident counting in, say, 4s very far, just try and add a couple more numbers on each time you do it.
Learning these multiples really does form the foundation of so much future learning in maths, so making sure they’ve nailed it by the time they start Year 4 would be a big plus! Our Times Tables Learning Journey offers resources in the order your child is asked to learn them in, to help you organise the workload.
Year 3 maths key area: fractions
Children in Year 3 are beginning to use fractions on a basic level, and it’s a great area to practise in the real-life setting of the home, as there’s ample opportunity for concrete examples.
Fractions at-home strategy:
Don’t wait for your maths sessions to practise fractions!
Every time your child has to share something with you or a sibling, there’s an opportunity to discuss how it’ll be divided. Pizzas and cakes are perhaps the most obvious fractions learning aid (does everyone get an eighth? If so, will any second helpings be available?). But lots of other things can be shared, too – talk about giving halves / quarters, and try to encourage accuracy in their measuring.
Year 3 maths key area: multiplication and division
The national curriculum states that Year 3 pupils should be able to write and calculate mathematical statements for multiplication and division, working with two-digit numbers and one-digit numbers.
You can find lots of multiplication worksheets and division worksheets on TheSchoolRun but it’s also a good idea to get your child to write their own calculations. Why not try multiplication / division bingo to liven up the process? Ask your child to prepare a bingo board and write out some numbers 0-10. What calculations result in those numbers? Ask your child to tick them off until they get a full house!
Multiplication and division at-home strategy:
Year 3 children often find it useful to use visual representations for multiplication and addition.
For instance, for 4 x 10, they might like to draw out multiplication arrays (four rows of ten).
For 18 divided by 6 they might like to draw 18 dots and circle them in groups of dots, counting up the circles.
Encourage these visual representations, as it helps children to give real meaning to what can sometimes seem like abstract calculations.