Second Grade Standards

Your second grader is likely becoming a good listener as well as talker. Many second graders are curious and like to take things apart. They like you to read to them and play board games. They still need security and structure. They may sometimes experience rapid changes in their feelings and mood.

Use this page to find out what you can expect your child to learn this year. You can also use this information to talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s progress throughout the year. You can also explore this site to find general information about learning standards, how they relate to Common Core and standardized testing.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, we welcome you to talk with your child’s teacher.

Resources to Help at Home

Here organizations with tips and resources you can use to help your child at home:

  • National PTA Parent's Guide to Success in Second Grade (pdf): Includes key skills, activities you can do at home, and tips for talking to your child's teacher (in Spanish)
  • Khan Academy: Includes interactive exercises and videos to help in math, science, economics, computing and arts and humanities
  • Great Kids Second Grade Milestones: Includes videos to help you see what your child should be able to demonstrate in critical areas by the end of the year
  • Be a Learning Hero: Allows parents to search by state, grade and subject to find homework support resources
  • Raise the Bar Parents: provides  educational 'checkups' they to see if your child is making progress toward meeting the standards. The site also includes resources to help students improve

Your child’s teachers can also share more tips and suggest activities to strengthen your child’s skills at home. 

English Language Arts (ELA): Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

In second grade, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. They will think, talk and write about what they read in a variety of texts, such as stories, books, articles and other sources of information including the Internet. In their writing, students will learn how to develop a topic and strengthen their skills by editing.


  • Understand key ideas and details of fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Work with the authors' style and organization of a piece of fiction or nonfiction (known by teachers as craft and structure)
  • Use the information in illustrations and words to better understand the meaning of the text (known by teachers as integration of knowledge and ideas)
  • Read from a variety of selections of various complexity


  • Write arguments, informative and narrative styles
  • Plan, revise and edit their writing
  • Research to build and present knowledge
  • Write for a variety of tasks, purposes and audiences

Speaking & Listening

  • Prepare to participate in a range of conversations
  • Present information in a variety of formats to various audiences


  • Understand conventions of standard English grammar
  • Develop and use age-appropriate academic vocabulary 

Foundational Skills

  • Know and apply grade-level phonics to decode words
  • Increase reading fluency to better understand a text and revising.

For detailed information about ELA standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's English Language Arts Learning standards page.


In second grade, students refine their understanding of the base 10 number system and use place value concepts of ones, tens and hundreds to understand number relationships. They become fluent in writing and renaming numbers in a variety of ways. This fluency, combined with the understanding of place value, is a strong foundation for learning how to add and subtract two-digit numbers.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

Operations and algebraic thinking

  • Represents and solves problems involving addition and subtraction
  • Adds and subtracts within 20
  • Quickly recall addition and subtraction facts for sums to 20
  • Works with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication

Number and operations in base 10

  • Understands place value
  • Uses places value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract

Measurement and data

  • Measures and estimates lengths in standard units
  • Relates addition and subtraction to length
  • Works with time and money
  • Represents and interprets data


  • Reasons with shapes and their attributes

For detailed information about math standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s page on math standards


Our state is currently in the process of updating science standards and this transition is expected to take several years. Many elements of these standards already appear in our classrooms. Our new state science standards are designed to help your child learn to answer questions and solve problems using scientific and engineering practices. Your child will learn about the core ideas, the practices, and the key concepts used by scientist and engineers in the real world. Each year, your child will build on what they learned in earlier grades. Your child may learn skills and knowledge in these broad areas:

Science and Engineering Practices

Science instruction at most grade-levels will include the following practices:

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models, such as diagrams, drawings or computer simulations 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following areas of study will all be addressed over time:

  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science

Crosscutting Concepts

Students will learn about the following important concepts that span across all fields of science and engineering:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation 
  • Scale, proportion and quantity 
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation 
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change


Social Studies

Through units of study of community, students will build knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics and civics with the goal of developing responsible citizenship.

  • Understands concepts and content including basic map skills, community and global connections
  • Applies research skills (acquires, organizes and presents information)
  • Participates in projects and activities

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction web page on social studies standards

Health & Fitness

Students develop the concepts and skills necessary for a safe, active and healthy life.


  • Understands health and wellness concepts
  • Looks at personal health and develops health and fitness plans



  • Demonstrates movement combinations (hop to skip, slide to gallop, etc.), throws, catches, kicks in game situations 
  • Maintains body control in general and personal space
  • Understands and applies safety rules and procedures 

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website

Arts & Music

In the visual arts and music, students acquire knowledge and skills to create, perform and respond in the arts and in other content areas.

Visual arts

  • Identifies warm and cool colors
  • Creates space in artwork using overlap and relative size
  • Identifies and uses emphasis/dominance

Music/instrumental music

  • Identify, distinguish, and experience music and sound sources as they use their voices, bodies, and instruments in games and activities
  • Experience, explore, and discover a variety of types, styles and genres of music, including traditional children’s songs, nursery rhymes, folk songs, partner songs, rounds, canons, classical music, and world music
  • Continue to develop singing and playing skills and techniques while exploring the elements of music

For detailed information about arts learning standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website