A quick overview of second grade Common Core Standards

Parents of second graders will see a fair number of changes, and new expectations, in classroom work under the new standards. For students to be successful, teachers and parents need to be strong partners and have a clear understanding of the learning goals. (Download our Common Core cheat sheet for parents of second graders.)

Examples of skills second graders should learn under Common Core

2nd grade reading skills

1) Perfecting decoding (using patterns to read words and decipher separate sounds) and fluency (reading quickly and accurately, and reading aloud with expression) skills.
2) Splitting their time between fiction (stories, poems, early literature) and nonfiction (history, social studies, science, technical texts) — and generally tackling tougher material. Under the Common Core, reading benchmarks begin in second grade that continue through third grade. The expectation is that second graders should get all the help they need from adults.
3) Using reading comprehension skills to build a knowledge bank: with every poem, story, passage, or book read, there’s a main point, message, or key fact (or two) that second graders learn, relate to their life, experiences, and prior knowledge, and “bank” for future use.

Want more? Read our complete article, Your second grader’s reading under the Common Core Standards.

2nd grade writing skills

1) Writing compound sentences, using descriptive words, and looking up new words!
2) Practicing three kinds of writing – opinion, informative, and narrative – and writing full-sentence introductions and conclusions for each.
3) Getting familiar with the four steps of writing: prewriting (reading and gathering ideas), writing a first draft, revising their work, and making final edits.

Want more? Read our complete article, Your second grader and writing under the Common Core Standards.

2nd grade math skills

1) Adding and subtracting easily up to 100, including solving word problems and addition and subtraction problems up to 1,000.
2) Understanding 3-digit numbers represent 1s, 10s, and 100s; skip counting by 5s, 10s, and 100s to 1,000; comparing two 3-digit numbers using <,>, and = symbols.
3) Partitioning circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares and describing the shares using the words halves, thirds, and fourths or quarters.

Building skills at home

1) Play “store”! Gather canned food, toys, books – and put prices on them. Then, use play money to go shopping. Take turns being the cashier and customer.
2) Include writing in children’s imaginative games. Have children write a menu and take orders while playing restaurant. Police officers write tickets. Robbers create and follow maps of the bank.
3) Model patience with homework. Especially at first, kids (and parents) may feel confused by new homework. When parents set the example, children learn to work hard, persist, and stay positive.

See skills in action

Go to Milestones.GreatKids.org to watch videos of kindergartners demonstrating strong reading, writing, and math skills.

What’s next?

Wondering what’s in store in third grade? Check out Your third grader and Common Core: a cheat sheet.

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