As in the early years, reading and writing are inextricably linked, and both are increasingly used to support children’s learning in theme. Routinely, children make connections between what they are reading and what they are writing.
The second grade reading program is extensive and varied. Children continue to build on the decoding strategies that they learned in previous years, using class-wide lists of high-frequency words and new knowledge gained from word study; in addition, they vastly expand their repertoire of comprehension strategies, including making inferences from the text structure and using visual representations, as well as predicting, summarizing, asking questions, and making connections. As the children gain more experience with factual texts, they learn to make use of text features such as: captions, headings, sidebars, index, table of contents, and glossary.
Elements of the reading program that support these goals may include independent reading, paired reading, reading from a script (“Reader’s Theater”), guided reading in groups, author studies, and exploring the nonfiction genre deeply by writing a nonfiction text.
By second grade, children are becoming more independent in their writing and able to use each other as resources comfortably. They appreciate that writing is a process and that finishing a first draft is only one step on the way to completing a piece of writing. Students practice writing personal narratives, poetry, factual pieces, and fictional narratives. Direct instruction in the elements of writing, writing workshop, and journal writing continue to be emphasized. Skills learned in previous years are reinforced: handwriting, planning, sequencing, editing, and revising. New skills are introduced, as well, such as knowing and using parts of speech, character development in fiction writing, and line breaks in poetry.
In word study, children learn to notice and think about words and their components, such as vowel patterns, prefixes, and suffixes. They also focus on other grammatical constructs, such as contractions and plural endings. These experiences enable children to become more skilled and independent spellers.