Parent Guide to the Curriculum: Second Grade

Language & Literacy

Highlights of what your child will learn in second grade include:

  • Reading and understanding books at grade level (expectation Level M).
  • Paying close attention to details, including illustrations, in fiction and non-fiction by asking and answering questions such as who, what, where, when, why, and how.
  • Describing character traits and how characters react to important events in a story.
  • Describing how a story is written, including the important parts of a beginning and an ending.
  • Determining the main idea of a piece of nonfiction, including the focus of important paragraphs.
  • Using text features (e.g., captions, bold print, headings, indexes) to locate information.
  • Writing an opinion about a topic and giving reasons for their thinking.
  • Writing to teach about a topic by giving facts and definitions about the topic.
  • Writing personal narratives to tell an organized story with details about events, thoughts and feelings.
  • Listening to others’ ideas to revise and edit their own writing to make it better.
  • Respectfully listening and waiting to take a turn during conversations.
  • Talking about the important ideas and details after listening to someone read or speak.
  • Using words correctly when writing or speaking.
  • Using correct grammar, language skills and conventions when writing.
  • Figuring out what words mean by using known strategies and thinking about what has been read.

Characteristics of books for proficient second-grade readers

  • Informational texts, simple fantasy, realistic fiction, traditional literature (folktales), simple biographies, simple mysteries
  • Most of the content carried by print, rather than pictures
  • Some abstract themes requiring inferential thinking to derive meaning
  • Texts with multiple points of view revealed through characters’ behaviors
  • Complex plots with numerous episodes and time passing
  • Multiple characters to understand and notice how they develop and change
  • Multi-syllable words that are challenging to take apart or decode
  • Some new vocabulary and content‐specific words introduced, explained, and illustrated in the text

Characteristics of proficient second-grade readers

  • Know the characteristics of a range of genres
  • Developing preferences for specific forms of reading (mysteries, biographies)
  • Can understand and process narratives with more elaborate plots and multiple characters that develop and change over time
  • Able to identify and use underlying organizational structures (description, compare and contrast, problem and solution, cause and effect) to help navigate through text
  • Word solving is smooth and automatic with both oral and silent reading
  • Can read and understand descriptive words, some complex content‐specific words, and some technical words


Highlights of what your child will learn in second grade include:

  • Solving addition and subtraction word problems with one or two steps up to 100.
  • Using understanding of place value to add and subtract two- and three-digit numbers.
  • Measuring and estimating lengths in standard units.
  • Quickly and accurately solving basic addition and subtraction facts up to 20.
  • Understanding what the digits mean in three-digit numbers.
  • Solving problems involving length, money (e.g., find the value of mixed coins up $1) and data within a graph.
  • Telling time to the nearest five minutes.
  • Working with equal groups of objects to learn the foundations of multiplication.
  • Reasoning with shapes and their attributes.

Questions to ask your child’s teacher

  • How can I help my child improve or excel?
  • What are some specific strategies that my child uses in school that we can practice at home?
  • What are some resources that I can use to help my child learn outside the classroom setting?
  • What are the steps my child needs to follow in order to solve a math word problem?

Social Studies

The focus of social studies in second grade is “My Community and Other Communities.” Students study our local community and learn about characteristics that define urban, suburban and rural communities. Democratic principles and participation in government are introduced. Geography topics include the study of environment, natural resources, and physical features influencing community development. The concept of change over time and examining cause and effect are introduced.


In grades K-2, students are introduced to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics through the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch Program.  PLTW taps into children’s exploratory nature, engages them in learning that feels like play, and encourages them to keep discovering. Through PLTW, students become hands-on problem solvers and learn to collaborate with each other.

PLTW brings learning to life. Students learn to adopt a design-thinking mindset through activities, projects, and problems that relate to the world around them. As students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, they become creative, collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.

STEAM Topics

  • Materials science: Form and function
  • Properties of matter
  • The changing Earth
  • Grids and games

Library/Media Program

The goal of the school library media program is to assist students and staff in becoming effective users of information and ideas. Children are growing up in a society that requires them to be efficient in information literacy. The media center supports classroom instruction and personal goals, encourages children to develop a lifelong love for reading, exposes children to various forms of material, and nurtures an environment for choosing and using books.

In second grade, children learn to:

  • Appreciate literature.
  • Identify the differences between genres.
  • Identify the difference in organization of fiction and nonfiction books (alphabetical vs. numerical).
  • Use spine labels and library signage to locate books based on interests and informational needs.
  • Gather information from multiple sources to research a topic.
  • Gather information in their own words on various graphic organizers.
  • Present findings from research in various formats.
  • Explore the concept of an online community.
  • Explore the similarities and differences between in-person and online communication (e.g., showing respect online).
  • Learn how to write a good email.


In second grade, your child will learn:

  • Types of line and shape-line drawings, as well as creating and using shape.
  • Cutting and gluing.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Primary, secondary and neutral colors; utilizing the color wheel; and applying that knowledge in painting and drawing.
  • Skills to understand and appreciate different types of art works.


Citizenship is built and understood through school-wide presentations, modeling and curriculum study.  Opportunities to discuss citizenship and positive character traits are embedded in the daily life of The Learning Community. Through school and classroom expectations, as well as literacy study and discussion, students build an understanding of the value of citizenship. Service learning projects are hosted throughout the year to promote good citizenship.  The district follows a ten month character education calendar to ensure that students learn and understand the essential elements of good citizenry.


In grades K-2, students are introduced to age-appropriate health topics so that they may start to develop and understand the importance of optimal wellness and self-worth. Learning focuses on developing healthy habits, such as making healthy food choices and practicing good hygiene. Students also begin to learn about their bodies and how they work as they explore all of the body’s important systems. Each successive year builds on what children learn in previous years through hands-on experiments and projects.

  • Healthy Habits – Personal hygiene, making healthy food choices, getting plenty of rest, moving every day
  • Human Body – Skeletal, muscular, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems
  • Nutrition – My Plate, obesity, gardening
  • Personal Safety – Bike safety, stranger safety, substance abuse
  • Emotional Health – Expressing emotions in healthy ways, importance of family and friends, anti-bullying


Musical notation is the main focus of second-grade music classes. Students have opportunities for creating and composing while developing an understanding of and appreciation for many genres of music.

Physical Education

In second grade, students will demonstrate mastery of basic locomotor and non‐locomotor skills and concepts. Students will also learn to link complex manipulative skills as a bridge to competing in team sports. With competition now playing a bigger role, students will learn to fill their roles and understand the concept of teamwork. During this year, students will develop a deeper understanding of the importance of physical activity throughout their lives.

  • Spatial Awareness – Mastery of personal and general space in active game environments
  • Locomotor Movement – Mastery of basic and more complex locomotor skills
  • Physical Fitness – Endurance, strength, speed and agility and the role these components play in living a healthy life
  • Body Management – Balance, dodging, chasing, fleeing, tumbling, and more complex movement skills
  • Object Management – Ball skills and combining skills in more complex ways (rolling, tossing, throwing, dribbling with hands, dribbling with feet, kicking, catching), striking with different objects including objects moving at higher speeds, jumping rope
  • Rhythms and Dance – Follow and perform choreographed dances
  • Core Sport – Team sports, emphasizing competition and teamwork (soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, baseball); individual sports, emphasizing competition (track and field, bowling)
  • Lifetime Physical Activities: Introduction to lifetime sports (tennis, golf, hiking, fishing)