Second Grade Curriculum


The second grade reading curriculum continues to develop foundational reading skills with a greater emphasis on learning to read for meaning. Students gain exposure and experience with various types of texts. They begin to develop their critical thinking skills, apply comprehension skills and strategies, read with greater fluency, and expand their vocabulary.   

The reading instructional time is divided between direct instruction using Reading Street by Scott Foresman and a workshop model. During the workshop time, students work in small groups with the teacher, make written responses to texts, and read independently.   

Each reading unit focuses on a “big idea” and an essential question that connects learning. Students explore a new aspect of the unit concept every two weeks, acquire new vocabulary, and read related texts. The second grade reading units include:  

  • Exploration - What can we learn from exploring new places and things?
  • Working Together - How can we work together?
  • Creative Ideas - What does it mean to be creative?
  • Our Changing World - How do things change? How do they stay the same?
  • Responsibility - What does it mean to be responsible?


The writing curriculum encompasses instruction in the writing process, grammar, and spelling. The second grade writing units allow students to explore narrative writing as well as continue to develop their skills in academic writing. Through explicit teaching, practice applying strategies, studying mentor texts, and sharing writing, students engage in deep and thoughtful writing experiences. They produce numerous pieces of formal writing that involve the full writing/revision process. Additionally, in each unit students apply their new writing skills to respond independently to a writing prompt under a given time constraint. The Units of Study Writing Program by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project serves as the core resource. The second grade curriculum includes the following units

  • Lessons From the Masters - Improving Narrative Craft: Students learn how to create engaging narratives by stretching out their stories to create longer, more detailed pieces. They focus on writing with detail and learning and trying out several "craft moves" from favorite published authors.
  • Lab Reports and Science Books: This unit uses inspirational nonfiction texts to help students design and write about experiments through using the scientific process. By the end of the unit, each student will have written an information book that teaches readers all about a topic that he/she knows well.
  • Writing About Reading: Students read and gather evidence from texts to craft persuasive arguments. They formulate opinions, support their ideas, provide reasons, and use details and examples.
  • Poetry – Big Thoughts in Small Packages: Students are introduced to sounds and feelings of poetry. Instruction focuses on choosing precise words, using repetition, conveying feelings, and determining the best structure for each poem.


District 27’s K-5 math curriculum emphasizes deep mathematical understanding and reasoning through real-world problem situations. In addition to learning and practicing important math skills, students invent, question, model, represent, and explore math strategies to solve problems and deepen their understanding of math concepts. The mathematical concepts, skills, and strategies connect and build across the grade levels. In grades K-5 students will explore math topics through Math Expressions by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The second grade units include the following:  

  • Addition and Subtraction Within 20: Children extend their fluency with addition and subtraction to totals through 20 and solve all the types of word problems they are expected to master in Grade 2.
  • Addition Within 200: Children use place value concepts to add numbers within 200, and they begin working toward fluency of addition within 100. They work with money: pennies, nickels, and dimes.
  • Length and Shapes: Children begin using rulers to measure lengths and analyze measurements given in different units to learn the relationship between the size of a measuring unit and the number of units. They use their measurement skills to collect and organize data as they display measurements on line plots. They learn about two- and three-dimensional shapes.
  • Subtract 2-Digit Numbers: Children extend their work with money to include quarters and dollars. They use place value concepts to subtract numbers within 200 and begin working toward fluency of subtraction within 100. They solve all the different word problem types from Unit 1, now using numbers within 200.
  • Time, Graphs, and Word Problems: Children learn to tell and write time to five minutes, using A.M. and P.M. They also learn how to make and read picture graphs and bar graphs. They then use the information in graphs to solve Put Together/Take Apart and Compare word problems.
  • 3-Digit Addition and Subtraction: Children will learn different ways to add and subtract 3-digit numbers and extend their understanding of place value. They now solve addition and subtraction word problems with totals up to 1,000.
  • Arrays, Equal Shares, and Adding or Subtracting Lengths: Children are introduced to arrays. They use their measurement skills to partition rectangles into rows and columns to determine equal shares. They then solve word problems about addition and subtraction of lengths and show these operations on a number line diagram.


District 27’s K-5 science curriculum emphasizes scientific processes/skills and builds students’ conceptual knowledge in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth science. The science program deliberately attends to students’ existing scientific ideas, provides authentic science experiences, encourages science exploration, and develops students’ science literacy. The second grade curriculum includes the following units:

  • Balance and Motion: Through experimentation students explore the physics behind balancing items and observe how a variety of objects move in different ways.
  • Astronomy: The Astronomy unit introduces students to basic concepts in astronomy and develops students’ observational skills. Students will explore the day and night sky and observe the apparent movement of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky.
  • Matter: The Matter unit provides students opportunities to investigate examples of changes that affect their daily lives. Specifically, students observe changes that occur when solids and liquids are mixed or change state.
  • Sound Systems: In this final unit students explore the source and cause of everyday sounds. Students engage in scientific inquiry as they experiment with objects to produce different types of sounds.

Social Studies

District 27’s K-5 social studies curriculum addresses five key themes of social studies: Geography, history, government, economics, and culture. Certain themes are addressed in more detail at certain grade levels. Social Studies Alive by TCI serves as the core resource. In second grade, students focus on their local community and study the basics of geography, economics, and citizenship. The curriculum includes the following units:  

  • What is a Community?
  • How Do Leaders Help Their Communities?
  • What Does a Good Citizen Do?
  • How Do We Use Maps?
  • What is Geography?
  • What is the Geography of the Community?
  • How Do People Use Our Environment?
  • How Are Goods Made & Brought to Us?
  • Who Provides Services in a Community?
  • How Can I Be a Good Shopper?
  • What are the Public Services in Our Community?
kids look at a book in an old-time school house
Second grader talks with students during meet and greet