By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


The writers of the CCSS collaborated with the Council of Chief State School Officers in hosting a one-hour webinar "The Common Core State Standards Supporting Districts and Teachers with Text Complexity" to share tools and resources to support teachers and districts with understanding and addressing text complexity


  • Facts
  • Comprehend
  • Independently
  • History/social studies
  • Informational texts

  • Nonfiction
  • Science
  • Text Complexity
  • Technical

what's this
  • Students in the third grade can read informational text in the 2-3 grade complexity band fluently and confidently –with scaffolding, if needed, at the high end of the range.
  • Students in the third grade use text coding to help them read informational text within the 2-3 grade complexity band and record their thinking. (For example, some symbols may include: “?” for words that couldn’t be decoded or confusing parts of the text, “!” for new information, “*” (asterisk) for interesting parts of the text. These symbols are used to guide meaningful conversations after reading.
  • Students in the third grade use strategies such as “get the gist” and graphic organizers to take notes and summarize what is read in informational texts.
  • Students in the third grade who read informational text within the 2-3 grade complexity band with confidence are able to determine the meaning of general academic vocabulary and domain-specific words and phrases necessary to understand text they read.
  • Students in the third grade who read informational text within the 2-3 grade complexity band confidently and fluently can:
    • ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of informational texts and find evidence within the text to support those answers
    • use information gained from illustrations and words in the text to demonstrate an understanding of text
    • determine key details and main idea of an informational text selection and explain how key details support the main idea
    • use language that pertains to time, sequence and cause/effect to describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text
    • use text features and search tools locate key facts or information in a text efficiently
    • distinguish their own point of view from that of the author’s
    • describe the connections between sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in sequence and, with prompting and support, problem and solution).
  • Students in the third grade recognize informational text structures: description, sequence, comparison (similarities and differences), cause and effect, and problem and solution.
  • Students in the third grade who independently read grade-level informational texts practice word recognition skills, gain confidence, and build grade level vocabulary.
  • Students that are able to successfully read text at the higher end of their grade level complexity are prepared to handle the demands of increasingly sophisticated and dense texts as they move into higher grades and different content areas.
  • Reading from a wide and varied range of history/social studies, science, and technical texts builds background knowledge that supports reading in content areas such as social studies, art, science, and mathematics and across grade levels.
  • Content literacy refers to the ability to work effectively with features of informational texts and to derive meaning from such interactions.
  • Good readers are active readers. From the outset they have clear goals in mind for their reading. They constantly evaluate whether the text, and their reading of it, is meeting their goals.

  • How can teachers determine text complexity for students in grade 3? (Refer to the following website for a brief description of three factors used in measuring text complexity. For More detailed information on text complexity and how it is measured, refer to Appendix A of the Common Core Standards.)
  • How do teachers make informed decisions about choosing appropriate informational texts for students to read at the grade 3 complexity band? What resources are available to help teachers choose appropriate informational texts for third graders? (Refer to the following website for a list of sample texts representative of a wide range of topics and genres. See also Common Core Standards Appendix B for excerpts of these and other texts illustrative of K–5 text complexity, quality, and range.)
  • How can children be supported to read increasingly more complex informational texts at their grade level complexity band?
  • Why is it important to develop a classroom library that offers history/social studies, science, and technical texts (in addition to literature, including both prose and poetry) in the lexile range of 450-790?
  • How can I (and do I) select instructional texts around topics or themes that generate knowledge and allow students to study those topics or themes in depth? (Refer to this information on the K-5 range of texts.)
  • How important is grade level academic vocabulary in choosing informational texts for third graders to read independently?

Go to RI.2.10 to see skills mastered prior to this.