Getting Ready for Second Grade

Here's what your second-grader will learn in school. Plus, discover the social-development milestones he'll hit this year.
By Sasha Emmons



Getting Ready for Second Grade

Social butterflies take flight this year! Your kid’s life will start to revolve around friends.

What she’ll be learning:
  • Regrouping (“borrowing” to you)
  • Grasping three-digit numbers, skip-counting, measuring, and currency
  • How to read irregularly spelled words; reading moves from decoding to comprehension
  • Writing compound sentences with proper punctuation
  • Giving her first public “speech”
What you’ll love:
"By the end of this year, your child will be proudly reading starter chapter books for fun," says Shari Edwards, a second-grade teacher in Wichita, KS. You’ll start to be able to help her read harder books. What's to come: amazing full-circle moments of your kid falling in love with your childhood faves!
Don’t stress over . . .
Lots of yapping: Chatting with classmates becomes a distraction, says Edwards. But there’s a plus to this new verbosity. “It often helps kids who exhibit developmentally inappropriate behavior, as they realize their peers don’t talk or act that way,” says Kristen Hyde, a longtime second-grade teacher (now a teacher trainer) in Denver. All second-graders, but especially those who are immature, now have to summon more self-control and motivation to live up to teacher and classmate expectations. Overall, second grade calls for a new level of perseverance. Try instilling the grit she’ll need. “Allow your 7-year-old to struggle a little when she attempts something new,” says Edwards. Support her, show her you have confidence in her, but don’t provide the answer. Help her understand that she’s capable enough to work out an answer for herself.
Insecurity: Second-graders are now aware of how others see them. Self-consciousness leads to teasing, and friend-jockeying creeps in. Try stepping back, unless you suspect bullying. Give her strategies for common situations, maybe ones that worked for you. Then tell her again that you believe she’ll be able to get past whatever—or whoever—is slowing her down, says Edwards. Find a noncompetitive activity that plays to her strengths, like art club or martial arts. She’s likely to find kids she clicks with, especially if the group is a small one.
What to Expect by Grade
Cognitive Skills
Age 7
Age 6
Child Development and Behavior
School Life