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 the youngest or just out of kindergarten, second graders are used to their school environment and ready to take on some serious learning. Your child's attention span is increasing as well. This means he's 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.


In math this year, your second grader will continue to explore the logic of numbers. She 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. She 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 she'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.). She'll also learn how to use a thermometer in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.


Second grade is a pivotal year in reading. This is the year when students are challenged to become more fluent readers. He 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 he practices 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 he doesn't know.

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


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

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


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

Typically, he will spend time learning about the body this year as well. Lessons will focus on how to take care of his 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 role of the Earth's orbit in seasonal changes, the solar system, and weather prediction using different types of clouds.

Social Studies

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

This year, many teachers will take the opportunity to expand (or shrink, depending on how you look at it) the 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 she learned in school each day.

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