What Is Taught to Kids in Second Grade?

second grade girl in classroom smiling
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By second grade, kids will have two years of school under their belt. Routines like working independently and cooperating with others in a group will be familiar. So will sitting quietly and listening to teachers or reading on their own. 

For many kids, second grade marks the beginning of being one of the "big kids" in the school. No longer just out of kindergarten, second graders have grown used to their school environment and are ready to take on some serious learning. Your child's attention span is increasing as well. This means they are able to learn more difficult concepts in one setting and apply them to other situations.

What Kids Learn as Second Graders

What kids learn in 2nd grade isn't the same from school to school, but there are some commonalities that many teachers focus on.

Math

In math this year, your second grader will continue to explore the logic of numbers. They will also start to learn that all the number facts are related in a systematic way. While kindergarten and first grade focused on learning to recognize numbers and numerals, second grade begins to work with those numbers in real-world applications.

This year your child will delve further into place value, learning to add and subtract using regrouping. They will explore basic fractions to learn how they relate to a whole and practice "skip counting" as a precursor to learning multiplication tables.

Other skills they'll be taught include basic money sense, units of measure and how those units relate to each other (inches make feet, feet make yards, etc.). They'll also learn how to use a thermometer in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Reading

Second grade is a pivotal year in reading. This is the year when students are challenged to become more fluent readers. They will move beyond using decoding skills to figure out unfamiliar words and use context clues instead. 

Expect to hear retellings of the stories your child has read, as they practice summarizing accurately. By the end of the year, your child will have a strong grasp of suffixes and prefixes, using them to decipher the meaning of words they don't know.

Other reading skills that are worked in second grade include outcome prediction, self-correction, and using a dictionary.

Writing

By the end of first grade, your child has mastered the ability to write a coherent sentence to convey meaning. Now they will work to put a number of different types of sentences (statements, questions, and commands) together to create a descriptive piece of writing.

The phrase they will probably hear most from their teacher this year is "Tell me more about that." This helps them to develop and use a more extensive vocabulary of verbs and learn how to use adjectives to bring depth to pieces of writing.

Science

Science curriculum varies a great deal in second grade. Some schools may spend a lot of time learning about life cycles, while others might have already covered that in first grade. If your child learns about life cycles this year, they are likely to focus on observable creatures like butterflies and tadpoles.

Typically, they will expand on their knowledge of the human body this year as well. Lessons will focus on how to take care of their own in a basic introduction to health, as well as learning about the bones, muscles, and organs and how they function.

Other topics explored may include the the four seasons, the Earth's orbit around the sun, our place in the solar system, and examine how different types of clouds can predict certain weather patterns.

Social Studies

Social studies in second grade is often a continuation of kindergarten and first grade, looking at neighborhoods, community, and families.

This year, many teachers will take the opportunity to expand their students' definition of community to include the classroom. This naturally leads to teaching about the need for rules in society and a comparison of different types of communities.

As closer friendships begin to form, they will also, quite naturally, exclude some children. That makes this a good year to begin learning about conflict resolution, on both a global and local scale.

A Word From Verywell

Of course, the curriculum in every school is different, though these are some of the things your second grader may learn. It's a year filled with fascinating insights for any child and you can help out by staying involved in her homework and asking what they learned in school each day.

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