Grade 2 Reading

Discover Grade 2 reading standards

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Now that your child has reached second grade, you will notice that their learning pace will be increasing. As they become more confident with the basics of reading, they will want to tackle more complex words and passages. With this in mind, it is important to stretch your child and push them to read Grade 2 level books and regularly question them on what they are reading. We have compiled a list of important skills and strategies that your second-grade child can practice to become a confident and fluent reader.

Long and Short Vowels

In Grade 2, children are expected to correctly decode single-syllable words that include long and short vowels. Below are some examples of words that use short and long vowel sounds.

Short Vowel Sounds Long Vowel Sounds
(say their name)

rat

snake

egg

cheese

fish

child

rock

toad

sun

cube

Children will need to know the different vowel team spellings for each vowel sound. For example, the long a sound is commonly spelled using the following vowel teams.

  • ai | rain
  • ay | play
  • a-e | game

Two Syllable Words with Long Vowel Sounds

Children will practice reading two syllable words that include a long vowel sound.

sun|rise

pan|cakes

tad|poles

Prefixes and Suffixes

Your second-grade child will also be expected to start identifying prefixes and suffixes and understand that by changing the beginning or endings of words can change their meaning.

A prefix is a group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word. Adding a prefix to a word changes its meaning. In Grade 2, children will practice decoding words with prefixes. Here are a few common prefixes that children will learn in Grade 2:

  • un- | unzip
  • re- | refill
  • pre- | precook
  • mis- | misuse

Practice Tip: Find a sentence including a prefix. Cover up the prefix word and give your child a choice of words that could fill the space. For example, this quiz on nightzookeeper.com requires children to select the correct word including the prefix un- to complete the sentence.

A suffix is a group of letters that is added to the end of a word. Adding a suffix to a word changes its meaning. In Grade 2, your child might come across words such as:

  • -ness | kindness
  • -er | singer
  • -ful | helpful
  • -less | endless

Text Types

In second grade, your child will begin exploring a variety of text types. These will include stories, informational texts, poetry, and explanatory texts. It is important that you encourage your child to read a range of different types of books and not solely to focus on one type of text that they find most enjoyable. They will pick up valuable skills by reading a breadth and depth of content. This will also help them when they begin to develop their writing skills as they’ll be aware of key features of different text types.

Practice tip: Start a book library at home and ask your child to arrange the books they have into different categories. Ask them to choose a book from a different category each day.

Fluency

By Grade 2, children are beginning to read with accuracy, pace and expression. These skills will develop quickly for children that have mastered a large variety of the sight words mentioned in our Grade 1 reading section. Children should be able to read most Dolch sight words fluently without having to pause to sound out words. Once they have grown in confidence with these words, then they’ll be able to add expression and intonation to their voice. This will be a skill their teachers are looking for them to express in the classroom during shared reading sessions. You can practice this at home with your child by asking them to read and repeat phrases, adding in more expression each time.

Practice Tip: Give your child a short passage to read and challenge them to read it in one of the following tones of voice:

  • Excited
  • Bored
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Slow
  • Fast

Comprehension

Children will spend a lot of time in second grade answering questions about the text they are reading. These questions will typically begin with “who”, “where”, “when”, “why” and “how”. They will be expected to answer both verbally and in writing to these questions, therefore, it is important that they get as much practice with this skill as possible.

Practice Tip: Create some question cards with the following prompts:

WHO? WHERE? WHEN? WHY? HOW?

Ask your child to pick a card at random after reading a section of the story, and then pose a question to them beginning with that word.

Fun Reading Activities

It is important to inject as much fun in the reading process as possible. Inspiring a love of reading at an early age can make a huge impact on your child’s development. Here are a few ideas for how you can make reading time fun for your second-grade child:

1. Make up your own version of a story you’ve read together. You could challenge your child to change the character names or set the story in an entirely different place.

2. Put your child in the story. Simply by changing the main character’s name can make your child feel a deeper connection to the story.

3. Ask your child to pretend to be the main character and ask them questions to answer in role. What would they do if faced by the same problems and situations that the character in the story faced?

4. Challenge your child to read dialogue in a different voice or accent. You can also join in by making up different voices for the different characters in the story.

5. Record your reading time and give your child awards for the time they spend reading. Children can win Orbs on nightzookeeper.com by recording what they have learned in the books they are reading at home or at school.

How Night Zookeeper can help

Nightzookeeper.com constantly challenges second grade readers to read words, sentences and short passages of text. The website helps them to discover the meaning of new words using fun games and challenges, whilst also posing grade level questions to test their understanding. By spending time working through these activities on Night Zookeeper, your child will become a more confident and fluent reader.

Related articles:

Grade 2 Writing

Grade 2 Grammar

Grade 2 Spelling

Grade 2 Punctuation

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