As your child enters the second grade, he might be reading fluently on his own, or he might still need phonics instruction to help him decode simple words. Setting aside time for him to read to you every day, or even a few times a day, will help develop his reading skills. As a general guideline, by the end of this second grade year, you can expect your child to be able to:
- Identify rhyming words
- Use decoding methods, such as breaking a larger word into smaller words, sounding out letter sounds in words, and comparing words that are similar
- Recognize words he sees often
- Use words he knows to decode unknown words.
- Recognize high frequency words
- Read different texts fluently and accurately
- Understand punctuation marks such as the question mark, period, and exclamation point
- Identify common contractions and abbreviations
- Identify the parts of a book, such as the title, table of contents, and glossary
- Identify the setting, characters, and plot of a story
- Identify the main idea in a story
If your child is not yet reading confidently on his own, or if you want to try more advanced reading practice, there are many reading programs available to help you as you work with him. Some of these programs include:
The A Beka Publications Second Grade curriculum consists of the book A Handbook for Reading, Letters and Sounds 2 , a workbook with tests and teacher key, and a set of ten readers.
Alpha Omega Publications offers the Horizons Second Grade Phonics and Reading Curriculum. This is for children who can easily read beginning phonics lessons. The set consists of two colorful, consumable workbooks that include concepts such as ending consonant and vowel sounds, consonant blends, digraphs, diphthongs, syllables, compound words, and suffix endings.
Alpha-Phonics by Sam Blumenfeld is a complete reading curriculum in one book that also uses the phonetic approach.
Author Nancy Hall created the Explode the Code series which addresses reading skills at many levels. Look through the workbooks to find the one in the series that meets your child’s needs. These books combine reading, writing, and spelling.
If your child is still struggling with reading, you might try the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. By the time he has completed the book, your child should be reading on a second-grade level.
Romalda Bishop Spaulding’s book The Writing Road to Reading combines the phonetic approach to reading with writing. Although the program is a bit more complex, it promises quick results.
The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading is another resource you might try. Written by Sara Buffington and Jessie Wise, one of the co-authors of The Well-Trained Mind, this book provides parents with a scripted guide to follow as it takes students from simple one-vowel words to much longer words they learn to decode.
As your child’s reading skills improve, search for books on his level for him to read. If you don’t have the books he needs at home, check with your local library. Your librarian can recommend some good books for second graders to you, or you might choose from those listed below:
- · Thornton Burgess Animal Stories, such as Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Lightfoot the Deer, and Buster Bear
- · Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne
- · Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingles Wilder
- · Amelia Bedelia and Come Back, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
- · Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad are Friends, and Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
- · Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik
- · Cam Jensen series by David A. Adler and Susanna Natti
- Clara and the Bookwagon by Nancy Smiler Levinson
- Prairie School by Avi
- Dr. Seuss early readers such as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham
And don’t forget about picture books. Some favorites for second graders include:
- · Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
- · The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
- · Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
- · Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
As you go through this second grade year, continue to encourage your child to read beyond the school lessons. Show him that reading is a valuable pastime by letting him see you read in your free time. Read together every day at lunchtime or every night before bed. Read his favorite picture books over and over to him or have him read to you. Get him his own library card and take him to the library often to pick out new books. If he’s reading and writing well, help him to write and illustrate a book of his own. Teach him to love to read.
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo from KellyB.