What Your Second Grader Should Know

By Melissa Taylor

Elementary School

By second grade, your child is getting the hang of the school routine and is starting to be a more confident student. Second grade is a wonderful year of self-discovery and blossoming independence. Here are the basics of what your second grader should know this school year:


Second Grade Reading

Children in second grade are becoming fluent readers in chapter books. They will start around a DRA 8 and should be reading at a DRA 30 by the end of the year. (The DRA is a standardized reading test commonly used in schools in the U.S. and Canada.) They also should be able to:

  •  Read and comprehend main ideas.
  • Retell what happened in a story including main ideas, details about characters, setting and events.
  • Self-select just-right reading materials.
  • Make connections to their own background knowledge.
  • Read silently.


Little boy reading book in bed


Second Grade Writing

You’ll be amazed at how your second grader is writing in sentences with capital letters and proper punctuation. Your second grader should be able to:

  • Write in complete sentences with appropriate punctuation.
  • Use capital letters correctly.
  • Use and understand contractions.
  • Write stories with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Be able to do basic research from a non-fiction book.
  • Understand and use first-person and third-person point of view.
  • Edit his or her own writing for spelling and punctuation.


Second Grade Math

Math in second grade builds on the previous year’s lessons and increases in difficulty. Kids in second grade math will:

  • Learn about even and odd numbers.
  • Use tally marks to count by five.
  • Read and make graphs.
  • Write numbers in word form.
  • Add two and three digit numbers.
  • Subtract two and three digit numbers.
  • Know the order of addition and subtraction operations.
  • Know the addition and subtraction fact families.
  • Start learning multiplication and division fact families.
  • Recognize patterns.
  • Round whole numbers to the nearest 10.
  • Know place value to the thousands.
  • Understand money including coins and bills, counting, adding and subtracting money.
  • Be able to measure length, weight and passage of time.
  • Tell time to the nearest five minutes.
  • Recognize two-dimensional geometric figures.
  • Solve word problems.


Adorable schoolgirl counts on fingers in class


Second Grade Social Studies

School districts often differ when it comes to second grade social studies. However, generally, kids will learn about their communities and the different regions in their country, as well as continents and oceans.


Second Grade Science

As with social studies, science curriculum depends on your school district. Most often, second grade scientists will be required to make predictions, find patterns in nature and learn about the Earth and its natural resources.


Closeup of little boy using microscope on biology lesson


Second grade is such an exciting time

Now you know what second graders are supposed to know, it’s time to ask yourself: Are your second grader’s skills on par with his or her grade level?

With a Sylvan Assessment, we can find out exactly where your child stands in comparison with his or her grade level, and create a personalized plan to help further his or her knowledge base!

Now’s the time to take action if:

  • You’ve noticed any academic issues that have been simmering for a while
  • Your child is just getting by (but isn’t really excelling), or …
  • You want to give you child an edge for next year

Sylvan offers a variety of services — from personalized tutoring, to homework coaching and skill building, to advancement programs — to help your family achieve your goals.

Reach out today to explore how we can help!


Looking for additional information on what your second grader should know? Check out these resources below:

What Your Second Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education Reviewed (Core Knowledge Series) by E.D. Jr. Hirsch
Common Core State Standards
PBS Parents