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Child Development Tracker

Home » 7 to 8 »


Supporting Activities


Read along or listen to Binky, and then put the story in the correct order. Unscramble Binky's Story

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day helps build literacy skills. Here are some great read-aloud books for second graders.

In second grade, children recognize more words by sight and can apply reading comprehension strategies in flexible ways so that they read with greater fluency (speed, accuracy, and expression) and independence. Reading is a pleasurable activity for most children and they demonstrate their understanding through discussion, written response, and participation in dramatizations. Children's vocabularies continue to grow, and their writing is more developed and engaging. They have a greater sense of audience, which influences areas such as vocabulary and the revision process.

Phonological Awareness (awareness of sounds)

  • Most children are phonemically aware (i.e., can identify and manipulate individual sounds in words) and use this awareness to sound out unknown words when reading, and to represent sounds in the words they want to write. Phonemic awareness can be encouraged by playing word games that involve deletion or substitution of speech sounds (e.g., ask your child, "What word would you have if you changed the /h/ in 'house' to /m/?"). Awareness of sounds is also enhanced with the use of letters, so development will continue as they decode during reading and write down the sounds that they hear when spelling.

Word Knowledge (phonics, word recognition)

  • By the end of the year, most children decode and spell unfamiliar, but decodable words by recognizing and using all letters and their corresponding sounds, including combined letters and sounds used in consonant blends (e.g., "bl," "st" and "-mp"), consonant digraphs (i.e., two letters that form one sound like "th," "ch" and "sh") and vowel digraphs (e.g., "ea" and "ou").

  • Most children apply the long vowel marking system (when endings such as "-e," "-ing," "-ed" and others mark the vowel as long, like when "tap" becomes "tape" or "taping") when decoding and spelling.

  • Uses knowledge of common word families (e.g., "-ite" or "-ate") to sound out unfamiliar words (e.g., given the known word "boat," can decode "coat" and "float").

  • Decodes and spells regularly-spelled, grade-level multi-syllable words. Is able to do this by applying basic syllable patterns and other structural cues, such as compound words (e.g., "firefly"), words with inflectional endings (e.g., "-s," "-es," "-ing"), and common prefixes (e.g., "un-") and suffixes (e.g., "-ly").

  • Checks the accuracy of decoded words by monitoring whether the passage makes sense and uses strategies to fix problems.

  • Recognizes a greater number of grade-level high-frequency words by sight (i.e., reads quickly and automatically, without decoding letter by letter).

Reading Comprehension

  • Children continue to build automatic word recognition and their ability to read aloud with greater speed and accuracy. During the year, they read aloud in ways that sound more like natural speech (e.g., speak faster and use more expression).

  • Continues to improve comprehension by building a larger vocabulary and applying comprehension strategies (e.g., predict, summarize).

  • Predicts content, events and outcomes by using text, illustrations and prior experience. Supports such predictions and forms conclusions using examples from the text or background knowledge. Can also use prior knowledge and personal experiences to compare and contrast information in texts, and will identify similarities and differences across texts related to text topics, characters, and problems. Such analysis can be stimulated before reading by talking to children about what they already know about the text's topic, asking them to make predictions about what the text's contents will include, and encouraging them to give reasons why.

  • Is able to answer how, why, and what-if questions. Can answer literal questions (e.g., who, what, when, where, and how), as well as questions that provoke deeper thought and analysis (e.g., critical/application questions).

  • Is becoming more proficient in drawing conclusions about things not explicitly mentioned in the text (drawing inferences).

  • Understands the importance of the sequence of events in stories and information in other texts.

  • Can identify the main idea and supporting details of a text and produce summaries.

  • Monitors own comprehension by recognizing when the text does not make sense, and then rereads or uses other strategies to fix the problem.

  • Many children show interest in a wide range of grade-level texts (e.g., fiction, folktales, fairy tales, poetry, nonfiction or informational texts) and are becoming more aware of their forms, structures and purposes.

  • Can identify the basic narrative elements of character, plot (e.g., problems and solutions), setting and theme. Is able to compare these elements across texts. Can analyze characters, including their traits, feelings, relationships and changes.

  • Children use their knowledge of narrative features to better understand a story, summarize a story and enhance their own writing of narratives.

  • Can summarize or retell information from simple informational texts. With adult support, can distinguish between main points and details, talk about cause/effect relationships and draw conclusions.

  • Identifies similarities and differences with information found from more than one source.

  • Can interpret information from simple diagrams, charts, and graphs.

  • Uses parts of a book to locate information, including table of contents and chapter titles.

  • Reads and understands written instructions.

  • Children develop both fluency (i.e., reading with accuracy, speed and expression) and comprehension strategies by reading and rereading appropriate level materials. (The general rule of thumb is the reader should make no more than 5 errors per page.) Adults should encourage children to read independently for extended periods of time (20-30 minutes).

  • Enjoys listening to chapter books that are beyond their own independent reading level. Reading both fiction and nonfiction to children increases their vocabulary and exposes them to more complex language, concepts and text structures.

  • Chooses to read to meet personal needs (e.g., to learn more about a topic of interest, to seek answers to specific questions). To select materials, children rely on their knowledge of authors and different types of texts, as well as their abilities to estimate text difficulty.

Writing - Content and Process

  • Understands and uses writing for a variety of different purposes (e.g., to entertain, tell stories, share information, give directions) and uses a variety of forms or genres (e.g., letters, stories, poems, personal narratives, responses to literature). Some children begin to reveal their personal voice (e.g., feelings, personal beliefs) in their texts.

  • Uses writing to reveal his or her understanding of stories and of informational texts that are read across the curriculum (e.g., science, social studies). Develops an awareness of content and format for different forms of writing. For example, when writing a friendly letter, considers appropriate content and structure (e.g., date, salutation, body, closing and signature).

  • Writes stories based on personal experiences in the world and those described in other texts (e.g., books and newspapers). Most children understand the form of writing needed for stories and organize events in a logical sequence (e.g., beginning, middle and end). Describes the setting, characters and events more frequently and in greater detail.

  • Writes reports that describe and explain topics, objects, events and experiences. With support, uses descriptive language to communicate details and varies the structure of sentences (e.g., starts sentences in different ways, includes basic transitions and phrases).

  • Continues to improve organization by grouping related ideas into simple paragraphs and maintaining a consistent focus. For example, when writing a report, will present ideas in chronological order or describe one topic (e.g., a butterfly's life cycle).

  • With adult support and opportunities to read and write, many develop paragraphs that state a clear focus or purpose, include some supporting details and provide a conclusion.

  • Uses pre-writing strategies to plan written work (e.g., discusses ideas with adults and peers; determines main idea, purpose and audience; uses graphic organizers like brainstorming webs, lists and Venn diagrams to compare/contrast).

  • In second-grade, children are able to revise their written work. They share their work with peers and incorporate their suggestions into later drafts.

  • Uses strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., edits for grammar, capitalization, punctuation; adds illustrations; shares finished product).

Writing - Mechanics

  • Prints all uppercase and lowercase letters legibly. Provides appropriate margins and correct spacing between letters in words and words in a sentence.

  • Writes complete sentences using subjects and verbs, as well as basic capitalization (e.g., proper nouns, months/days of the week) and punctuation (e.g., comma use in the greetings of letters and to separate items in a list, apostrophes, quotation marks). Most children can distinguish between complete and incomplete sentences in their own writing and in the writing of others.

  • Uses declarative (e.g., "We went to the store.") and interrogative sentences (e.g., "Do you like ice cream too?") with proper end punctuation.

  • With support or if prompted, uses resources (e.g., dictionary) to find correct spellings.

  • Correctly spells one- and two-syllable words with short- (e.g., "quick") and long-vowel (e.g., "time") patterns, as well as words with more complex vowel usage (e.g., "shoe," "house"). Can also correctly spell frequently-used, irregular words (e.g., "was," "were," "says," "said," "who," "what," "why") and words that have been previously studied (e.g., multiple syllable words, content-specific words such as those from science, compound words and contractions such as "isn't").

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