By the end of first grade, your child was probably writing full sentences. In second grade, children will continue to further their writing skills by including more detailed aspects of grammar and style. They will be asked to read and write a variety of writing structures, such as letters, plays, and poems. They will also be introduced to a new writing style: cursive. In second grade, children will begin to read and write a variety of things, and it is generally the first time children will be asked to write book reports, demonstrating reading comprehension with writing skills.

Here's what your child should be able to do before starting second grade writing:

  • Communicate in writing

  • Reread their writing to monitor meaning

  • Begin to use feedback to change their writing – either by adding more text or by making minor revisions

  • Insert text in the middle of their writing rather than just at the end

  • Make deliberate choices about the language they use

  • Use punctuation and capitalization more often than not

By the end of second grade students working at the standard level:

  • Write about their own ideas

  • Pick out nouns and verbs in sentences

  • Explain the problem, solution, or main idea in fiction and nonfiction

  • Revise their writing to make it clearer

  • Read and understand stories, poems, plays, directories, newspapers, charts, and diagrams

  • Write different types of sentences

Reprinted with permission from "Second Grade Success: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn" by Amy James (Jossey-Bass, 2005)