2nd grade skills checklist: reading & language arts

Success in second grade requires a child to be a much more independent learner than she was in first grade. Is your child ready?

Learning Stages

Second grade readiness checklists

Reading & language arts

Reading & comprehension skills

  • Shows independent interest in reading-related activities
  • Listens with interest to stories and other texts read aloud
  • Constructs meaning from print
  • Understands and interprets stories or short passages
  • Recognizes new words by using phonics and/or contextual clues
  • Has a basic sight vocabulary
  • Follows written directions
  • Demonstrates understanding of stories by identifying the main idea and main characters, placing events in sequence and predicting outcomes
  • Distinguishes beginning, middle and ending sounds in words
  • Adds, deletes or changes target sounds to change words (e.g., change cow to how)
  • Segments 1-syllable words into their individual sounds (e.g., cat = /c/ /a/ /t/)
  • Reads some compound words and contractions
  • Reads words in common word families (e.g., bag, rag, tag)
  • Responds to who, what, when, where, how and why questions
  • Retells central ideas of a reading selection

Writing & spelling skills

  • Accurately writes their last name
  • Writes words, phrases and sentences to convey messages
  • Recognizes conventions of print (punctuation, parts of speech, etc.)
  • Writes simple stories with a beginning, a middle and an end
  • Writes correctly spaced, complete sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation
  • Prints uniformly and legibly
  • Spells grade-level words
  • Locates words in a picture dictionary
  • Uses strategies to create invented spellings
  • Uses conventional spellings in commonly used words
  • Understands the concepts of synonyms and antonyms
  • Identifies beginning, middle and ending consonants aurally and visually
  • Recognizes long and short vowel words
  • Identifies word endings
  • Identifies plural forms and compound words

Listening & speaking skills

  • Listens for meaning in discussions and conversations
  • Follows directions that involve a series of actions
  • Participates in discussions and conversations
  • Expresses ideas clearly (describes, answers questions, retells stories, etc.)
  • Describes an object using two or more properties (descriptors)
  • Uses “I” and “me” correctly
  • Speaks in complete sentences

Tips for parents to help children develop language and reading skills:

  • Ask your child to describe his day at dinner or at bedtime. Ask questions that focus on details. Ask your child to describe the best thing that happened that day and why that event was so wonderful.
  • Tell your child a simple joke and ask him to repeat it back to you. Jokes require attention to both the language and the inflection in the voice.
  • Record your child telling or reading a short story; listen to the recording while your child follows along with the book.
  • Praise your child for speaking clearly, especially when other people are around.
  • Listen to the radio or books-on-tape in the car with your child. Ask questions about the stories you hear.
  • Model good verbal skills; speak clearly and deliberately when you talk directly to your child or to others when your child is around.
  • Read with your child every day, even if it is just for twenty minutes before bed. Take turns reading short phrases or paragraphs. Build up to taking on character roles in stories.
  • Let your child see you reading every day. Encourage your child to read short articles in the newspaper along with you.
  • Encourage your child to read to other children.
  • Turn on closed captioning while watching television with your child and point out specific words or phrases that appear repeatedly.
  • Ask your child to read the label on packages of food; this is an opportunity to help your child become a critical reader. Look for the difference between factual information and advertising hyperbole.