Things Your Child Should Know Before Entering Second Grade

Posted by Sarah Rutzler on September 11, 2017

getting ready for second gradeSecond grade is an important year for any child. Your child has just finished their first year in a “big school” and is now ready to continue their  learning process. Second grade involves knowing more than just facts; they need to apply them as well. Second graders need to be able to think, solve problems, and know why they are solving the problems. Your child’s critical thinking skills will increase.

Here is an example checklist of what a child needs to know before starting second grade.

Reading and Reading Comprehension Skills

  • Know long and short vowels
  • Ask appropriate questions and answer questions about a text (who, what, where, when, why, and how)
  • Recall and retell events from a story
  • Compare and contrast elements in different stories (characters, settings, plot, and problems)
  • Discuss a story or topic with their classmates (ask and respond to questions)
  • Read grade level assigned books
  • Know what point of view a story is being narrated in (first person, third person)

 Writing Skills

  • Write independently about a single topic
  • Write in small groups about a single topic
  • Write something that tells a story, provides information, or gives their opinion
  • Know sentences begin with a capitol letter and end with a punctuation mark
  • Know proper subject-verb agreement (ex: Correct = James is a mailman. Incorrect= James are a mailman.) 

 Mathematic Skills

  • Add and subtract number up to 20 (10+8 or 20-8)
  • Understand basic rules of addition and subtraction (12+4 is the same as 4+12) 
  • Solve words problems up to two-digit numbers
  • Count to 120
  • Understand the “ones” and “tens” place
  • Tell the time to the hour and half hour on an analog clock
  • Organize data up to three categories (ex: how many children in the class like plain, pepperoni, or sausage pizza)
  • Graph data up to three categories
  • Measure objects by length and put them in order from smallest to biggest
  • Put items into categories by size, color, or shape

 Social Studies Skills

  • Understand the reasons for laws
  • Know the state, city, and town they live in
  • Basic map skills
  • Recognize major landforms (volcanos, mountains)
  • Recognize and know historical buildings (White House, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building)
  • Recognize and know important figures in history (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • Know basic cultures and their traditions (Thanksgiving, Christmas)
  • Recognize important leaders (president, governor, and mayor)
  • Understand the importance of a bank and what it provides us with

 Science Skills

  • Understand things can be classified into different categories (color, shape, size, function)
  • Recognize and know that the same materials can exist in different areas (solid, gas, liquid)
  • Understand what energy is
  • Understand the Solar System
  • Use other tools to gather scientific information for an experiment 
  • Ask questions about an experiment
  • Make predictions about an experiment 

 Social Skills and Abilities 

  • Work independently 
  • Interact with peers
  • Work in a group
  • Follow directions and participate in group activities
  • Share and communicate appropriately with other students
  • Respect their peers
  • Sit for a longer period of time than in first grade (30-45 minutes)


Click the links below to see an outlined model curriculum for second grade (note this outline is for the state of New Jersey. State model curriculums will vary) 


"2nd Grade Skills Checklist: Science." LeapFrog. Web. 30 Aug. 2017

“2nd Grade Skills Checklist: Social Studies.” LeapFrog. Web. 30 Aug. 2017.

McCarson, Debbie. "What Skills Should a Child Have Before Entering Second Grade?" Our Everyday Life. Web. 30 Aug. 2017.

Morin, Amanda. "Academic Skills Your Child Needs for Second Grade." Web. 30 Aug. 2017.

"What Skills Should a Child Have Before Entering Second Grade?"| Education - Seattle PI. Web. 30 Aug. 2017.

Topics: Math, Reading Comprehension, Academic Standards, Second Grade, New School Year

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