Reading 101: A Guide for Parents

Your Second Grader

Discover the typical literacy milestones for your second grader, and how to support your child's developing skills in reading and writing. Use the links on the left to find activities, videos, and other resources to build skills in these key areas: recognizing the sounds in speech, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.

Literacy milestones

Get an overview of the reading and writing skills that are typical for 7-year-olds. Remember that kids develop at different rates, so don't be worried if your child isn’t doing some of these things yet. If you do have concerns, talk to your pediatrician, your child's teacher, or the reading specialist at school.

If you're concerned ...

Browse the resources in our Helping Struggling Readers section to learn more about why some children have difficulties learning to read.

You may also want to read the article Clues to Dyslexia from Second Grade On.

Reading

  • Identifies an increasing number of words by sight.
  • Uses letter-sound knowledge to sound out unknown words.
  • Accurately decodes multisyllable words that sound like they are spelled ("orthographically regular") such as capital or Kalamazoo. Can also sound out orthographically regular nonsense words.
  • Accurately reads many irregularly spelled words.
  • Reads with greater fluency
  • Uses word identification strategies with greater facility to unlock unknown words
  • Notices when a text doesn't make sense, and begins to use strategies such as rereading, predicting, and questioning to understand it.
  • Interprets information from diagrams, charts, and graphs.
  • Recalls facts and details of texts.
  • Poses possible answers to how, why, and what-if questions.
  • Discusses similarities in characters and events across stories.
  • Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction.
  • Reads independently for entertainment and to learn something new.
  • Can act out a story.

Writing

  • Can write about a range of topics with the audience in mind.
  • Produces a variety of types of compositions, including stories, reports, and letters.
  • Writes legibly, using capitalization and punctuation correctly (most of the time!), and moving from invented spelling to more accurate spelling.
  • Is learning how to revise own writing and offer meaningful feedback to peers about their writing.
  • Organizes writing to include a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Can write a simple essay with a title and introductory sentence, provide examples and details that support their main concept, and write a concluding sentence.
  • Makes reasonable judgments about important details to include in writing. 
  • Attends to spelling, mechanics, and presentation.
  • Concentrates more on the content of their writing than on the mechanics of handwriting.

Looking at Writing

See examples of real writing from second graders in our interactive resource, Looking at Writing.

What does second grade writing look like?

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald