Second Grade

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Second Grade Parents' Guide to Student Success

English Language Arts & Literacy

Students in 2nd grade will gain more skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They continue to learn and practice rules for matching sounds to letters that make up words, and they learn new concepts — such as words that share the same root (e.g., add and additional) — that help them figure out the meanings of new words. Writing will become an exciting way for your child to use newly learned words and phrases to express ideas. As they write and speak, 2nd graders will be more attentive to the formal and informal uses of English and will spell most words correctly in their writing. 

A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 2nd Grade 

  • Paying close attention to details, including illustrations and graphics, in stories and books to answer who, what, where, when, why, and how questions
  • Determining the lesson or moral of stories, fables, and folktales
  • Using text features (e.g., captions, bold print, indexes) to locate key facts or information efficiently
  • Writing an opinion about a book he or she has read, using important details from the materials to support that opinion
  • Writing stories that include a short sequence of events and include a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Participating in shared research projects (e.g., read books on a single topic to produce a report)
  • Taking part in conversations by linking his or her comments to the remarks of others and asking and answering questions to gather additional information or deepen understanding of the topic
  • Retelling key information or ideas from media or books read aloud
  • Producing, expanding, and rearranging sentences (e.g., “The boy watched the movie”; “The little boy watched the movie”; “The action movie was watched by the little boy”)
  • Determining the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix or suffix is added to a known word (happy/unhappy; pain/painful/painless) 

Mathematics

In 2nd grade, your child will build on last year’s work and gain important new skills. One of the most important outcomes for the year is to add and subtract two-digit numbers quickly and accurately (e.g., 77 – 28). Another important goal in 2nd grade is to understand what the digits mean in a three-digit number such as 463 (namely, 463 is four hundreds, six tens, and three ones). Your child also will build expertise with solving addition and subtraction word problems. Mastering addition and subtraction at the 2nd grade level is important so that your child will not have to review and repeat this material in 3rd grade, when the study of multiplication, division, and fractions will start.

A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 2nd Grade

  • Solving challenging addition and subtraction word problems with one or two steps (e.g., a “one-step” problem would be: “Lucy has 23 fewer apples than Julie. Julie has 47 apples. How many apples does Lucy have?”)
  • Quickly and accurately adding with a sum of 20 or less (e.g., 11 + 8); quickly and accurately subtracting from a number 20 or less (e.g., 16 – 9); and knowing all sums of one-digit numbers from memory by the end of the year
  • Understanding what the digits mean in three-digit numbers (place value)
  • Using understanding of place value to add and subtract three-digit numbers (e.g., 811 – 367); adding and subtracting two-digit numbers quickly and accurately (e.g., 77 – 28)
  • Measuring and estimating length in standard units
  • Solving addition and subtraction word problems involving length (e.g., “The pen is 2 cm longer than the pencil. If the pencil is 7 cm long, how long is the pen?”)
  • Building, drawing, and analyzing 2-D and 3-D shapes to develop foundations for area, volume, and geometry in later grades

Help Your Child Learn at Home

English Language Arts & Literacy

  • Read at home every day and assist your child by reading every other paragraph. Encourage your child to read to younger siblings, cousins, or other children you know. To find recommendations of books for your child to read, visit www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf.
  • Have your child write a thank you note or letter to family members or friends.
  • Ask your librarian to suggest books about people or places that are important to your child or family that you can read together. Encourage your child to explain what he or she has just read.

Mathematics

Look for “word problems” in real life. Some 2nd grade examples might include:

  • When saving for a purchase, compare the cost of the item to the amount of money you have; then ask your child to determine how much more money he or she needs to buy the item.
  • When measuring your child’s height, ask how many inches he or she has grown since the very first measurement.
  • Play “draw the shape.” For example, ask your child to draw a hexagon with one side longer than the others, or ask him or her to shade in a quarter of a rectangle.