Vocabulary for Second Grade Students: How to Build a Bigger Vocabulary

A strong vocabulary is an essential component of a child's reading comprehension skills. Do you want to be active in helping your second grader increase her or his vocabulary? If so, then read on to find out a few tips.

Find available tutors

How Can I Help My Second Grader Learn Vocabulary?

Children need a large vocabulary in order to read independently and understand school lessons. Many teachers will assign sets of vocabulary words for second graders to memorize. Although looking up words in the dictionary or second grade textbooks is one way to learn vocabulary, acquiring it through daily activities is often more effective.

Reading with Your Child

Second grade is not too late to read out loud to your child. Many second graders are only able to read easy readers independently. These books are designed for beginning readers and have a limited vocabulary. Read more advanced books out loud and discuss new vocabulary words that come up. You can also sit down with your child and go over school reading assignments.

Ask your child what her reading interests are and buy the books. You can go to a bookstore and let her choose books. Look for second grade book lists online or at local libraries and other learning facilities.

Giving Your Child Context

Exposing your child to a lot of different experiences can help him improve vocabulary. For example, you can teach your child scientific terms, but he isn't likely to remember them if they're taught in isolation. Instead, take your child to a science museum and let him experience what the terms mean in the real world.

Using Games, Activities and Flashcards

There are a many free vocabulary-building games online for second graders. Many are visually intriguing and are often based on cartoons or other pop culture phenomenon that she may like. Such games are available for different skill levels and can be good practice.

There are also many vocabulary-building activities that you can do around the house to help your second grader. For example, you could play a game where you'll only respond to your child if she speaks in rhymes. An activity like this may seem trivial at first, but it will often sharpen your child's awareness of the words she can mentally access.

Flash cards are another effective way to increase your child's vocabulary. There are websites that provide vocabulary lists based on second grade standards. Ask your child's teacher about the vocabulary words being taught at school. You can make flashcards by hand or use one of the websites dedicated to creating customized flashcards.

Getting Professional Help

If your child is struggling to retain new words, then he may benefit from the help of an educational professional outside of school. This kind of assistance can be invaluable if your child has a learning disability or is an English as a Second Language student. Look for tutors, child psychologists or reading specialists who can help your second grader.

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

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

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