Being ready for second grade involves more than just knowing certain facts. Second graders are generally able to think about how and why they’re solving problems. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which most states have adopted, lay out a number of skills kids are expected to learn by the end of first grade. Here are some of the big ones.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 2: English Language Arts and Literacy
One way kids get ready for second grade is by continuing to work on connecting letters and sounds to make words. Second graders use this skill to write short sentences. They also read stories and poems and learn to talk about what they read. Here’s a sample of the reading and writing skills kids are expected to learn by the end of first grade:
- Show an understanding of the lesson in a story by asking and answering questions about it (who, what, where, when, why and how).
- Compare and contrast elements of different stories, including characters, settings and major events.
- Explain how texts that tell stories are different from texts that provide information.
- Learn the basic rules of spoken and written English and use these rules to describe people, events, ideas and feelings.
- Converse with others, using the rules of listening, asking questions and waiting their turn to respond (such as in class discussions).
- Write in small groups as well as independently about a single topic and provide a few facts or details about it.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 2: Mathematics
By the time kids start second grade, they’re expected to know about whole numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, etc.) and place value in two-digit numbers (such as knowing that the “2” in “24” means “20”). Kids begin grouping numbers into tens and ones by the end of first grade. They also use charts, tables and diagrams to solve problems. Here are some other key skills kids need to be ready for second-grade math:
- Add and subtract numbers up to 20 (such as 10 + 10 or 20 ‒ 10).
- Understand basic rules of addition and subtraction (such as 6 + 2 is the same as 2 + 6).
- Solve word problems and problems with one- and two-digit numbers up to 20.
- Understand the meaning of the “tens” and “ones” places in two-digit numbers and learn to compare two-digit numbers using > (more than) and < (less than).
- Recognize that the equal sign means both sides of the equation have the same value and know whether an equation is false (such as 3 + 4 = 9).
- Measure objects and put them in order by length.
- Read a clock and be able to tell the time to the nearest hour.
- Sort items into categories by shape, size, color and function.
Kids develop at different rates, but if your child is having trouble, it’s better to speak up sooner rather than later. If your child is struggling to keep up in an academic area or can’t seem to stay focused, partnering with the teacher can make a big difference. Together you can create a plan and keep track of your child’s progress. It’s also a good idea to attend parent-teacher conferences. Planning ahead can help you make the most of these meetings.
There are also things you can do at home to work on math and reading skills. Take a look at games to help kids who struggle with math and ways to build reading skills (beyond books).