Teaching Second Grade Reading: Techniques for Parents and Teachers

Second graders are still learning how to read, which can be a frustrating - and rewarding - process. Keep reading if you're looking for ways to help your child or students improve their reading skills.

Find available tutors

How to Improve Reading Skills in Second Grade

What Second Graders Learn

What your child or class will need to learn in the second grade depends upon your location and school. By second grade, many students are expected to read basic texts in several genres, from fables to poetry. Your students or child will not only be expected to differentiate between genres, but also compare and contrast different texts. In addition, many second graders have to develop reading comprehension and fluency.


Before reading a book, help your child or class look over the title and front cover. Many second grade books have at least a few pictures. Discuss the pictures and help them form opinions about what might occur in the text. The benefit of this activity is that the students will know what to expect before even reading, which can reduce anxiety and also increase their personal connection with the story.

Comprehension and Fluency

Reading comprehension is how well a child can understand and interpret texts. A good way to help second graders improve comprehension is by simply having discussions. If your class or child is able to form opinions about a text, then they are thinking critically about what they're reading.

Reading fluency refers to how fluidly and mistake-free a child can read. To increase fluency, teach sight words. Sight words are common terms, like 'as' and 'the,' that can be recognized without thought. Knowing sight words reduces the amount of words that students have to sound out while reading. One of the best ways to help students learn these words is through memorization. Write sight words on a series of flash cards and use constant repetition to review.

Practicing New Sounds

Sometimes, second graders may struggle with vowel and consonant combinations that can't be sounded out phonetically. Teach your child or students these combinations one at a time and give them several opportunities to practice. They can complete the following activities when practicing the new sounds.

Write some consonants on note cards and include at least two different sound combinations, such as 'ai' or 'oa'. Have students sort the cards and make new words by combining the cards. For example, when you're teaching the 'ou' and 'ow' sound combinations make cards like 'out' and 'cow'.

After reading a book, have the students highlight words that have a particular sound, such as the long /e/ sound. The process of locating the words will help them remember the sound when they're reading later. This is a common way to increase a second grader's bank of sight words.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Can Reading Bridge Racial, Socioeconomic Gaps?

    Study after study shows the achievement gap in education between students of different cultures and economic backgrounds. Recently, two New Jersey schools successfully used literature to show students how 'the other half lives'. Can this experiment be a model for other schools to use books to bridge racial and socioeconomic...

  • More Blog Articles
    Too Much Emphasis on Reading and Math?

    According to a large number of surveyed educators who teach grades 3-12, U.S. public schools are spending too much time on reading and math and not enough on other subjects. Yes, math and reading are important. But what about science, foreign languages and social studies?

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth