Grade 2 Punctuation

Discover Grade 2 punctuation standards

Now that your child has reached second grade, they'll be expected to use basic punctuation accurately within the stories and reports they write. They will also begin to experiment with new forms of punctuation as the complexity of their writing increases.

Keep reading to understand these new principles, and for expert guidance on how to help your child develop the punctuation skills they need in second grade!

The Basics

Punctuation is the name for the marks we use to make our writing clear. They're typically used to show a reader when a sentence has come to an end. Children at second-grade level will typically have a good understanding of how to use these basic punctuation marks:

  • Periods ( . ): for statements
  • Question Marks ( ? ): for questions
  • Exclamations Points ( ! ): to show strong feeling

Commas (,)

The comma is a punctuation mark that we use to separate numbers and words. Children learn about the most basic use of the comma in first grade. Second graders will also learn that commas are important when writing a letter. Your child will need to practice using a comma in the date, the greeting, and the closing of each letter that they write.

Letter writing practice

Practice Tip

Sam's Story Writing is a great lesson series for your child to develop their knowledge of how to correctly use commas. This lesson series is available now on Night Zookeeper!

Lesson series available on, displayed on tablet screen.

Apostrophes (')

The apostrophe is a punctuation mark that shows us when a letter is missing from a word or when something belongs to someone. Your second grader will begin experimenting with apostrophes at this point in elementary language arts.


Look at how the ant in the pictures below is using an apostrophe in the word "doesn’t".

Sometimes we shorten the phrase "does not" to "doesn’t"". We join the words "does" and "not" together. Then we take out the letter "o" from "not" and replace it with an apostrophe. This is called a contraction.

Here are some other contractions we use all the time! The apostrophe shows where letters are missing when we combine and shorten words.

  • I am ⇨ I’m
  • do not ⇨ don’t

Practice Tip

Create a pile of letters and apostrophes made from card. Ask your child to arrange these letters to make as many accurate contractions as possible. The below image shows you an example of this activity that your child can play on Night Zookeeper.

Unscramble the word activity on, displayed on tablet screen.


We can also use apostrophes to show belonging. To possess something is to have it, which is why we call words that use apostrophes for belonging, possessives.

Adding apostrophe example

The apostrophe in Bertie’s name tells us that the umbrella belongs to Bertie!

Practice Tip

Practice this new skill by writing sentences using target possessive vocabulary as the example below shows.

Possessive vocabulary example, displayed on tablet screen.

How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Make language arts fantastically fun with Night Zookeeper!

Night Zookeeper is a language arts program, created to help learners in Grades 1 to 6 improve their reading and writing, with an emphasis on boosting grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills. Whether used as a supplemental resource for boosting your child's punctuation skills or as your ELA homeschool curriculum, Night Zookeeper can support you and your child through their learning journey in a variety of ways!

Our award-winning educational content has been developed by experts to make learning fantastically fun for even the most reluctant readers and writers! When it comes to punctuation, our diverse range of activities include:

  • Word games to help consolidate your child’s knowledge of topics such as contractions & possessives
  • Punctuation lessons covering all the rules your second grader must know
  • Printable worksheets & free resources for on-the-go learning

Sign up today and get a FREE 7-day trial!

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