Grade 2 Reading

Discover Grade 2 Reading Standards

In second grade, children become more confident with their foundational knowledge of English language arts, and will likely want to move on to more challenging tasks. While they’re still beginners, it’s important to encourage your child to read Grade 2 level books and regularly question them on what they’re reading.

To help you support your second grader in their learning journey, we’ve compiled a list of reading skills and strategies that your learner can practice to become a confident and fluent reader.

Long and Short Vowels

In Grade 2, young readers are expected to correctly decode single-syllable words that include long and short vowels. This will be aided by their phonics skills covered in first grade. Below are some examples of words that use short and long vowel sounds.

Short Vowel Sounds Long Vowel Sounds
(say their name)











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

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




Prefixes and Suffixes

In second grade, your 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 to change 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 Night Zookeeper requires children to select the correct word including the prefix un- to complete the sentence.

Prefix lesson on

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 start exploring a variety of text types. These will include short stories, informational texts, poetry, and explanatory texts. You should encourage your child to read a broad range of books and not solely focus on one type of text they like most. They’ll pick up valuable language arts skills by reading a breadth and depth of content. This will also develop your child's writing skills, as they’ll be familiar with different styles and genres of texts.

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.


Accuracy, pace and expression are all skills required in second grade reading. These reading skills will develop quickly for learners 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’ve grown in confidence with these words, they’ll be able to add expression and intonation to their voice. This is a reading skill their teachers will look for them to express in the classroom during shared read aloud sessions (if your child goes to school).

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

Reading Comprehension

Children will spend a lot of time in second grade answering questions about the text they’re reading. These comprehension questions will typically begin with “how”, “when”, “where”, “why” and “who”. They’ll be expected to answer these questions in both verbal and written forms, so it’s important that they practice their reading comprehension skills regularly.

Question marks in speech bubbles

Practice Tip

Create some question cards with the following prompts:


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. As they practice their reading comprehension skills, they may find decoding information challenging at first. Allow your child to use the text they’ve read as an answer key the first few times they try this activity. This will aid their progression and ensure that they understand how to source information correctly.

Once they’re well-versed in finding the relevant information to answer comprehension questions without consulting the text several times, you can start challenging your child even more. You can start with giving them context clues if you notice they’re struggling to remember key information, and finally move on to answering these questions without consulting the text.

Fun Reading Activities

Inspiring a love of reading at an early age can make a huge impact on your child’s literacy skills, so make sure you make reading as fun as possible!

Here are some grade level activities that will make reading fun for your second grader:

1. Make up your own version of a story you’ve read together. 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. Play the inference game! What happens after the story ends? What assumptions can your child make based on the text they’ve read?

6. Record your reading time and give your child awards for the time they spend reading. This is a great way to keep your child motivated and eager to learn more as they move on to third grade. Night Zookeeper’s award system is the perfect way to inspire your child to read! They’ll earn Orbs for every single activity they complete (which will be automatically set to your child’s reading level).

How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Night Zookeeper is a comprehensive language arts program that focuses on helping children develop their reading and writing skills in a fantastically fun way!

Our program offers countless ways for your second grade child to develop key reading skills, including reading comprehension activities and lessons, word games, and reading challenges. Night Zookeeper offers an adjustable grade level feature, to allow children to learn at their own pace, so if you feel that your child needs a little extra practice, we’ve got you covered!

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