How can I tell if my child is really reading on grade level? Everything seems to be going along all right for him in third grade.
First of all, your child's report card should indicate if he is reading on grade level. And it will also tell you how well he is reading on grade level. A visit to your child's classroom during reading time will give you an added picture of how well he is doing compared to his classmates. Plus, a chat with his teacher should make it clear to you how well he is reading.
You can do an informal reading test by having him read a passage of a current assignment in a grade-level reader. If he doesn't make more than five errors per 100 words, you can be fairly confident that he's reading on grade level. You can also find out if his reading skills are developing appropriately by visiting the Reading Rockets site. It also has information on other grade levels.
And here is one more important determiner of his reading skills: If he truly enjoys reading and frequently has his nose in a book, things are probably fine.
Incidentally, you are right to be concerned about whether or not your third grader is reading on grade level. Children who are not reading on grade level at the end of this year are likely to face considerable difficulty in school in fourth grade and beyond when reading shifts to reading for learning content area material.