Grade levels » 2nd Grade

2nd Grade

Welcome to 2nd Grade

In 2nd grade, your child becomes a more experienced writer, reader, and mathematician by practicing her skills in more complex and comprehensive ways. Students read bigger and more complicated books, write longer and more in-depth pieces, and learn more about the concepts behind certain math skills. What’s more, second graders pursue projects that involve research and critical thinking, which might include doing individual or group work and then sharing learned information through writing, speaking, and art.


Reading in Second Grade 

Second graders continue to develop their literacy skills as they learn more complex words and absorb longer, more rigorous texts in a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Students also expand their reading comprehension skills as they talk about what they read, and develop more advanced ideas around those topics. Just like in previous years, second graders also continuously practice reading as they use texts for other subjects throughout the day.

To build reading skills, your second grader:

  • Reads more complex words, such as two-syllable words.
  • Reads words with common prefixes and suffixes, for example: pre-re-un-, -able, -ad, and -er.
  • Reads grade-appropriate, irregularly spelled words (consult your child’s teacher for a specific list of these words).
  • Reads a variety of texts including fiction, non-fiction, fables, and poetry.
  • Understands the structure of a story, specifically the purpose of beginnings (introducing the text) and endings (concluding the text).
  • Understands the most important details of a text—its main purpose and the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.”
  • Talks about characters’ responses, main events, lessons learned, and important ideas or concepts.
  • Begins to make connections within and between texts.
  • Compares at least two different versions of the same story, such as two versions of a classic fairy tale (think Little Red Riding Hood and the Chinese variation, Lon Po Po).
  • Reads at grade-level with correct accuracy, pace, expression, and comprehension.
  • Self-corrects mistakes and re-reads when necessary.


Writing in 2nd Grade

Second graders write texts that are more detailed, lengthy, and varied, all of which refines their writing skills. They also use technology to publish their writing (you can help prepare them for this by using the Internet at home together).

Similar to reading, writing occurs throughout the day as students use it for a variety of subjects. For instance, students may write about a math problem and explain how they solved it, or about a topic they learned in science or social studies. All of these tasks make them stronger and more experienced writers.

To build writing skills, your second grader:

  • Writes a variety of types of texts including:
    • Opinion Pieces: Students state their opinions and provide reasons to support them, closing with a conclusion.
    • Narrative Pieces: Students write about an event, describing actions, thoughts, and feelings, and provide a conclusion.
    • Informative/Explanatory Pieces: Students introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a conclusion.
  • Revises and edits writing to improve it.
  • Uses digital tools with the aid of the teacher to publish writing (teach your second grader more about technology with A True Book: Computers).
  • Researches topics for shared, group, or class-wide research and writing projects.

Math in 2nd Grade

Second graders continue to practice addition and subtraction skills, and eventually solve problems in their heads and add some numbers from memory. In many classes, math tools such as blocks, tiles, and different shapes help students practice these skills.

Students also learn to explain how they solved a problem using words and writing, and how to break down numbers to better understand them. They learn concepts that provide the foundation for multiplication, and continue to gain a deeper comprehension of certain math principles.

To build math skills, your 2nd grader:

  • Adds and subtracts numbers from 1-20 using mental strategies and ultimately, by the end of the year, adds two 1-digit numbers from memory (these addition flash cards will help with that).
  • Solves one- and two-step addition and subtraction problems with numbers up to 100, using drawings and equations and explaining the process.
  • Learns the difference between odd and even numbers.
  • Begins learning the foundations of multiplication by adding the same number to itself (for example, 4+4) and grouping together the same number of objects to add up to more.
  • Understands and can break down a 3-digit number into groups of hundreds, tens, and ones.
  • Reads, writes, and counts up to 1000, and can count by 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s.
  • Compares 3-digit numbers, using the signs: >, <, and =.
  • Practices adding together up to four 2-digit numbers by skip counting and adding smaller parts of the numbers together.
  • Measures objects and uses different units of measurement, like inches and centimeters (you can use Scholastic Learning Express Level 2: Time and Measurement to help support these skills).
  • Estimates an object’s measurement and measures how much longer one object is than another.
  • Tells time using analog and digital clocks.
  • Begins to solve word problems involving money.
  • Creates picture and bar graphs, and answers questions about the data represented in the graphs.
  • Recognizes triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes—and their defining characteristics, such as the number of angles.
  • Breaks up shapes into halves, thirds, and fourths, and uses smaller shapes to create larger ones.Science in 2nd Grade 
  • In 2nd grade, students continue to explore the world around them, but they do so in a more rigorous way by using hands-on experimentation to develop questions, hypothesize, collect data, and make observations and conclusions.

Science in 2nd Grade 

In 2nd grade, students continue to explore the world around them, but they do so in a more rigorous way by using hands-on experimentation to develop questions, hypothesize, collect data, and make observations and conclusions.

As in other grades, the specific topics studied in science vary according to state. However, common topics include earth and space, the human body, plants, the cycle of life, animals, and electricity and magnetism. Consult your child’s teacher or research your state’s specific science standards for more details.

To build science skills, your 2nd grader:

  • Uses observation and experimentation to learn about her world.
  • Asks scientific questions and finds the answers to her questions.
  • Collects and uses data to support experiments and what she learns.
  • Records her observations through writing and speaking, and uses her observations to explain and make conclusions.
  • Reads about different scientific concepts.

Social Studies in 2nd Grade 

The 2nd grade social studies curriculum includes specific topics that vary from state to state, but overall focuses on helping students develop their reading, writing, research, and critical thinking skills as they gain a deeper understanding of history and society and share the new knowledge they learn. Teachers may use texts, photographs, film, art, class trips, and visitors to help students learn about a specific topic from different types of media and various perspectives. In 2nd grade, there is often a strong emphasis on comparing differences between groups and appreciating these differences.

Many social studies lessons and projects also integrate and overlap with other subjects such as reading, writing, and math.

To build social studies skills, your 2nd grader:

  • Learns about the history of his community and family.
  • Compares his own community to others, specifically with an appreciation for valuing difference and multiculturalism.
  • Gains a deeper understanding of geography, and specifically that of North America, using maps to locate and identify different places such as bodies of water, mountains, the equator, etc.
  • Learns more about government, its roles, and how officials are chosen.
  • Learns about important historical figures.
  • Uses reading, writing, and art to deepen his understanding of concepts and portray what he has learned.
  • Learns about American holidays and other important days and events.