Terrific Grade Two Milestones
Children must achieve competence in particular academic skills each year of their schooling. We have considered the milestones they must achieve in Grade R, before beginning primary school. We have also seen the many aspects that they learn in Grade 1. We unpacked the academic milestones in both English and Maths for first graders.
We will now be looking at the progress that students must make in their second grade of schooling. This is following South Africa’s CAPS curriculum, for English Home Language speakers. This has been for all the milestones for each Grade that we have discussed.
Grade Two Listening and Speaking
Building on from Grade 1, Grade 2 scholars begin to answer high-order questions. They can do these after listening to a poem or story. They can make a proper response to a complex sequence of instructions.
Second graders begin talking about general news and their personal experiences. They can display respect for the person speaking. They show this by listening without interrupting. They will be able to comment on what they have heard and will ask pertinent questions about what is said.
Grade twos can tell their own stories. These stories will have a beginning, middle and end. The students will be able to convey their thoughts and feelings about poems and stories. The children will be able to give reasons for why they think and feel as they do.
Pupils in second grade can roleplay in different situations. They can make their own rhymes and can contribute to discussions. They will learn to report back on their group’s work. They will answer open-ended questions appropriately. Grade twos can give rational explanations for their answers.
Parts of speech and the Grade Two pupil
Second graders know what parts of speech and punctuation are. They learn to identify paragraphs, question marks and commas. They are taught what prepositions, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and nouns are. They can use these terms correctly.
Second Grade Phonics
First Grade phonics are established and built upon on Grade 2. Common consonant diagraphs are revised. They are the sh, ch and th sounds at the beginning and end of words. In Grade two the students learn to recognise the “wh” at the beginning of words.
Grade 2’s are able to break words down into their consonant blends. They can build them up again, as well. They use the initial and final sounds of the words to sound out the words. For example, “s-ing”; “bl-ue,”; “br-ing”. Consonant blends with three letters are recognised. “Str-ing” would be an example. They learn vowel digraphs (“ai”, “oo”, “ea”, “oa” and “ee”) are learnt and recognised in words.
Second graders learn at least five new vowel diagraphs. (“Ar”, “er”, “ur” are just three examples.) They recognise that the “e” at the end of words such as “lake” is silent. They also know that this is a split digraph as well. They can also identify common double consonants at the end of words. They recognise the “ll” at the end of “will”, for example.
Using what they know of phonics they learn to spell words correctly. As the second grade year progresses, they build more and more words using these phonic sounds.
Reading and viewing in Grade Two
In the shared reading done by the class with a teacher, second graders will read enlarged texts. They will read books of poems and songs, as well as fiction and non-fiction. From the visual cues they will be able to make predictions about the story.
After reading together with the teacher and class, they will recognise key details of what was read. Grade twos learn to express whether they enjoyed the story or not. They can do this and give reasons for their opinions. They will also engage in high-order questions about the text. The learners will chat about the various cultures seen in the stories.
Second graders interact with print media and pictures. When shown posters, newspaper and magazine pictures, photographs, calendars and adverts, they can give their ideas about what they see.
There will also be reading guided in groups throughout the year. The second grader will read aloud and silently at their own level. This will be with the group from non-fiction and fiction books. They make meaning using sight words, comprehension skills and phonics. Structural and contextual analysis is also employed.
Over the course of the year, correct pronunciation improves. Grade twos also become more fluent and improve in reading speed. Self-correcting strategies are seen while they read. Word recognition and comprehension become more and more self-monitored.
While reading with another student and independently, Grade twos can read their own writing and their classmates’. With a peer, they can read aloud to each other. Comics, simple books (fiction and non-fiction) and poetry cards can be read independently. They learn to do crossword puzzles and other reading games.
Second Grade Handwriting and writing
Grade 2s can use pencils, erasers, rulers and other handwriting tools correctly. Their handwriting is aligned on the standard ruled lines of 17mm. Students form accurate capital and small letters. They do this using print and can form all the letters of the alphabet correctly in both upper and lower case. Spacing between words and letters is correct.
Working from a printed text, second graders can copy out a paragraph from a printed text. They can write out the three to four lines in their own handwriting. Different formats of writing can be copied and written out. These can be birthday invitations, messages, lists and so forth. For all forms of written recording, print script will be used.
Grade two: the beginning of cursive writing
Grade twos start to read cursive writing this year. They will copy and write patterns with joined script (or cursive writing). All the small letters will be copied and written. Common capital letters will also begin to be used. Reading and writing short words in joined script will begin. They will be able to copy out many short words in cursive. Short sentences will also follow.
Creative writing in the second grade
During shared writing, grade twos can contribute words and ideas for class stories. They will write simple poems and expressive texts. For example, letters and birthday cards are expressive texts.
Personal experiences, such as family celebrations or a trip to the zoo, can be written about in at least two paragraphs. The paragraphs will be at least five sentences each.
Grade 2s can produce their own stories for others to read. These will be drafted and written by the students themselves. They will be at least two paragraphs long.
The children will also be able to write using informational structures. This means that they can write recipes, for example. Their information can be organised into a table or chart. They will also contribute to a book in the reading corner. This will be on a chosen topic, and they will write and illustrate four to six sentences. Grade twos will become adept at the writing process of drafting, writing and editing.
Second graders will use punctuation marks correctly in their writing. They will use exclamation and question marks, and commas and full stops will be where they should be. Common words will be spelled correctly. Unfamiliar words will be attempted using the phonic knowledge. Tenses – past, present and future – will also be correct.
Grade twos will use a dictionary and build up their own word bank. Nouns, verbs, pronouns and prepositions will be used correctly.
The support that Grade twos need
There is a lot to learn in each grade. With the love and support of parents and teachers, second graders can excel at their writing and reading.
In the articles to come, we will consider other aspects of the Grade 2 milestones that the curriculum will be teaching them.