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.

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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.

Pre-Reading

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.

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