Ready for School: Second grade literacy & social studies milestones

5 ways to tell if your child is ready for second-grade literacy and social studies.

Learning Stages

By Clement Chau, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Learning Expert

As the children and media expert on the Learning Team, Clement primarily works on toys and digital products related to social studies, creativity, life skills and early childhood development. Before joining LeapFrog, he was an early education consultant, a media literacy researcher at the MIT Comparative Media Studies department, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a researcher and lecturer at the Tufts University Developmental Technologies Research Group. Clement received his PhD from Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development and completed his dissertation on evaluating children's mobile apps.

Second grade is a time to consolidate and perfect new skills. At this age, kids may turn inward and even seem to doubt themselves ("I can’t do anything right!”), which is natural and developmentally appropriate. However, they also love to have fun, laugh and act silly.

To understand whether your child is ready for the challenges of second-grade literacy and social studies, assess how your child compares to the following statements in 6 key areas.

Historical events

  • I enjoy learning about historical figures and events.
  • I understand that people from different times and places view the world differently.

Human needs & natural resources

  • I understand the difference between human and natural resources, and I recognize the relationship between them.
  • I am begining to understand basic concepts of supply, demand and limited resources.

Reading & spelling

  • I can most likely recognize lots of words and pronounce them correctly. I prefer to read out loud so I can get help when I need it and so I can make sure I am reading the words right. I might sound a little mechanical, like a robot, when I read; I don’t really pause when I am supposed to, and I don’t raise and lower my voice naturally. I am just working on getting the words right for now.
  • When I am reading I might leave out words. Or I might add in familiar words to the sentence. I will hesitate at new words and I might prefer that you give me the correct pronunciation, or I might just replace the word with one I know that looks similar. I might repeat phrases in order to get it right and keep the momentum going.
  • I can spell many words, but spelling is harder than reading. Just because I can read a word does not mean I can spell it.


  • I am interested in reading-related activities, including being read to and reading on my own.
  • I comprehend and respond to text. I can identify the main idea and main characters, place events in sequence and predict outcomes.

Verbal & written expression

  • I use language to help solve problems. You might notice that I talk to myself sometimes when I am trying to figure something out. Talking myself through a problem helps me organize my thoughts.