What to expect in second grade

Learn about what to expect for your child in second grade.

By Miriam Myers

In your child's classroom

In second grade your child will make considerable leaps in reading, writing and math skills. She will use new vocabulary, orally and in writing. By the end of the year your child should be reading fluently. Work will become more challenging, and the amount of homework will increase. To support your child, set up a library at home with books and magazines at different reading levels and genres. Read plays aloud with your child to build fluency and expression.

In math your child will solve addition and subtraction word- problems, tell time to the quarter-hour, learn about place value in three-digit numbers and work with measurement. To practice these skills at home have your child write an addition word-problem about how many books he read over a period of time or on another topic. Donna Adkins, our teacher consultant, explains: "Measurement can be an abstract concept, thus making it difficult for your child to understand. One way to help your child understand measurement is to make it 'real life.' Parents can accomplish this by cooking with their child. When following a recipe, have your child read the ingredients out loud. Have a variety of measuring tools available such as cups and spoons. Let your child choose the correct tool and explain why it is applicable."

In second grade, your child may want things to be perfect. He may pout if he makes a handwriting mistake. He may not want to expand on his writing if he doesn't know how to spell everything correctly. For this reason it is important to encourage him when he makes a mistake and explain that everyone makes them.

You can use the summer before second grade to teach your child responsibility for some simple chores. Donna Adkins, our teacher consultant explains: "The attitude that one responsibility fits all kids doesn't work well. Some are more or less mature than other children their age. You know your child best. Choose a simple chore that that he can do without feeling overwhelmed. Start small and build. To raise a responsible child, responsibility must be cultivated early and continually."

Adkins adds: "Teaching your child independence is one of the most important jobs a parent has. One way to accomplish this is to develop daily routines that a child can follow. If he knows that every morning when she gets up, she follows a particular routine for getting ready, then she can soon do it herself. In the evening, if your child knows the bedtime routine is to take a bath, brush teeth, read a story and get into bed, then not only is it easier to get her into bed, it is easier for the child to do it independently."

Each child passes through a range of social, academic and developmental stages at his own pace. Below are some guidelines for what to look forward to in the year ahead.

Physical and social skills you can expect of your second grader:

  • Begin to reason and concentrate
  • Have a better ability to process information
  • Work cooperatively with a partner or small group
  • Understand the difference between right and wrong
  • Make connections between concepts so she will be better able to compare and contrast ideas

Academic skills you can expect of your second grader:

  • Expand his vocabulary
  • Read fluently with expression
  • Recognize most irregularly-spelled words such as because and upon
  • Begin to use a dictionary
  • Add single and multi-digit numbers with regrouping
  • Tell time to the quarter-hour
  • Know the concept of multiplication, such as 2x3 is represented by two rows of three objects.

Learn more about where your child should be at the end of first grade.