How to Write Biographies for 3rd Grade


Third-graders need to read and write in all literary genres. Biographies are an effective method for introducing them to narrative nonfiction. Third-graders love knowing that the stories are true and take in an avid interest in learning about the lives of their favorite stars and sports heroes. They also enjoy getting to write about them or about people they know.

Things You'll Need

  • biographies
  • chart paper
  • markers
  • notebooks
  • pencils

Write Biographies for Third Grade

  • Read biographies. Before third-graders will be ready to write biographies, they need to be familiar with the style and the content of typical biographies. The Rookie Biography series by Children's Press is a good source for age-appropriate biographies. Have students read biographies independently and read biographies aloud to them. Spend two weeks immersing them in biographical literature.

  • Make a biography chart. Use chart paper and markers to create a list of common biography characteristics during a class discussion. Review, alter and discuss the chart during the reading study.

  • Prepare for writing biographies. Students are now ready to write their own biographies. Encourage them to choose worthy role models for their biographies. They can write about famous people or people they know. After choosing their subjects, they need to write their questions. Make sure to approve all questions.

  • Conduct interviews and/or research. Have students email or talk to subjects when possible. They can then record their subjects' answers. If that's not possible, have students research their subjects in the school library and/or on the Internet. Encourage them to get answers to as many of their questions as possible.

  • Write rough drafts. Once third-graders have their answers in hand, have them turn those answers into sentences and paragraphs.

  • Complete the editing process. Students should first edit each other's drafts (if you don't already have a peer review process in place, you can skip this part) and help each other fix mistakes. Next third-graders should consult with teachers to edit their pieces.

  • Create the final version. Third-grade students can recopy their biographies neatly or type them. They can also make covers or add illustrations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to gear expectations to each student's level. Lower students can ask four questions and write short biographical paragraphs. Higher-level students can ask 10 questions and write two paragraphs.
  • If you are worried about whom students will choose to write about, develop a list of acceptable choices and have them choose subjects from the list.


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