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Language Arts in Second Grade

This article describes what second graders will learn in their language arts class.
Updated: December 1, 2022

Language Arts in Second Grade

compass_two.gifWhat Kids Should Learn in Reading
In the area of reading, the teacher's principle goal is that the children view reading as central to learning and as a source of endless information and enjoyment. The teacher also wants each child to know that he or she can be a successful reader.

More specifically, the second grade curriculum is designed to ensure that children can

  • Identify and use the title, table of contents, glossary, and index of a book;
  • Understand the roles of the authors and illustrators of the books they read;
  • Identify the setting, main characters, and plot of a story; can use context and word attack skills to decode the meaning of unknown words;
  • Locate words in a dictionary; can begin to use an encyclopedia;
  • Predict possible outcomes of a story;
  • Read a variety of books in all curriculum areas;
  • Begin reading children's magazines and newspapers; and
  • Read some menus, television schedules, and grocery labels.

    The teacher also wants the children to start personal libraries at home; to increase the time spent in silent reading; to dramatize what they read; to perceive connections between what they read and their own lives; to understand the multiple meanings of words; and to become familiar with the library so that they can begin to use it independently. Teachers continue to read to children daily, using a broad array of children's literature.

    What Kids Should Learn about Writing
    Writing is an extension of reading. Teachers make sure that children write every day and see themselves as authors. Children are encouraged to keep journals and to write to one another, to their parents and grandparents, and to classroom visitors. The children also write books.

    The teacher continues to support invented or transitional spelling in order to encourage children to put their ideas on paper; this helps give their writing fluency. At the same time, children are encouraged to pay more attention to punctuation and its relationship to meaning; to the fact that many words have several different meanings; to the fact that some words work better than others in certain contexts; to the sequence of events and ideas in stories; to the personal nature of writing; and to the possibilities of revision.

    In regard to revision, the children participate in writing workshops where they share their writing and begin outlines of new writing. They also keep portfolios of their writings -- works in progress as well as completed works. Their portfolios help them see that their writing over time offers material for self-evaluation. Second grade writers begin to use prefixes and suffixes, compound words, tenses, and synonyms and antonyms to add variety to their writing, and they learn that legibility is important.

    What Kids Should Learn about Listening and Speaking
    The oral aspects of language are important and are closely related to the development of children's reading, writing, and thinking skills. Teachers allow children to gain considerable experience in telling and retelling stories, speaking informally, sharing information with classmates and visitors, leaving and taking telephone messages and distinguishing fact from make-believe.

    Focused discussion activities are also important; here the teacher guides the children in a slightly more formal discussion of a selected topic. In addition, children participate in readers' theater and plays. They read poetry aloud, learning to match their volume to the needs of the production. The teacher helps them explore the differences in intensity of various words and speech patterns.

    Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 2nd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers
    Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.

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