ELA - Foundational Skills

Arizona’s English Language Arts Standards – 3rd Grade

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills

Phonics and Word Recognition

  • 3.RF.3  Know and apply phonics and word analysis skills in decoding one-syllable or multisyllabic words.
    1. Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.
    2. Decode words with common Latin suffixes.
    3. Apply knowledge of the six syllable types to read grade-level words accurately.
    4. Read grade-level appropriate irregularly spelled words.


  • 3.RF.4  Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
    1. Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
    2. Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
    3. Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.


Writing Standards: Foundational Skills

Sound-letter basics and Handwriting

  • 3.WF.1  Demonstrate and apply handwriting skills.
    1. Read and write cursive letters, upper and lower case.
    2. Transcribe ideas legibly in cursive and manuscript, with appropriate spacing and indentation.
  • 3.WF.2  Standard ends at grade 2.


  • 3.WF.3  Know and apply spelling conventions and patterns.
    1. Spell single-syllable words with less common and complex graphemes (e.g., ough, augh, old, -ind, -ost, -ild families). 
    2. Identify language of origin for words, as noted in dictionaries.
    3. Spell singular and plural possessives (e.g., teacher's, teachers').
    4. Spell regular two-and three-syllable words that:
      1. Combine all basic syllable types: closed, VCe (Vowel-Consonant-silent e), open, vowel team, vowel-r, and consonant le.
      2. Include common, transparent prefixes and suffixes (e.g., re-, pre-, sub-, un-, dis-, mis-; -able, -ness, -ful, -tion).
    5. Spell grade-level appropriate words in English, as found in a research-based list (*See guidelines under Word Lists in the ELA Glossary), including:
      1. Irregular words. 
      2. Pattern-based words.