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Second Grade Writing Standards

Second Grade Writing Standards

Writing standards for second grade define the knowledge and skills needed for writing proficiency at this grade level. By understanding 2nd grade writing standards, parents can be more effective in helping their children meet grade level expectations.

high school students at school cafeteria

What is 2nd Grade Writing?
In second grade, students write on a daily basis with the goal of becoming independent writers. As specified in second grade writing standards, students begin by learning how to write a paragraph with a topic sentence and supporting details. Second-graders gain awareness of the audience they are writing for and write for different purposes. In reports and stories, second grade students learn how to provide descriptive detail about characters and setting. They also organize their work using a beginning, middle, and ending. Writing activities for 2nd grade will focus on using sequence of events and writing from different viewpoints, i.e., first person (‘I’) and third person (he, she, it, they).

The following writing standards represent what states* typically specify as second grade benchmarks in writing proficiency:

Grade 2: Writing Strategies—The Writing Process
Second grade writing standards focus on the writing process as the primary tool to help children become independent writers. In Grade 2, students are taught to use each phase of the process as follows:

  • Prewriting: Students generate ideas for writing by using prewriting techniques, such as drawing and listing key thoughts.
  • Drafting: Students write a draft suitable to the topic, audience, and purpose. In drafting, second grade students strive to create clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea.
  • Revising: Students revise and refine the draft for clarity and effectiveness, with the goal of achieving a sense of audience, and using precise word choices and vivid images.
  • Editing: Students edit and correct the draft for appropriate grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalizations, and other features of polished writing.
  • Publishing: Students produce, illustrate, and share a variety of compositions, including using appropriate computer technology to compose and publish work.
Stylish Middle School Students

Use of technology: Second grade students will use available technology to compose text.

Grade 2: Writing Purposes
This year, students learn to write for different purposes and audiences, and 2nd grade writing topics include  creative, informational/expository, and persuasive forms. Specifically, second grade writing standards stipulate that students write to:

  • record ideas and reflections.
  • discover, develop, and refine ideas.
  • communicate with a variety of audiences.
  • respond to literature and answer math word problems.
  • express themselves in different forms for different purposes, such as writing lists, letters to invite or thank, stories or poems to entertain, and brief narratives to tell about a personal experience.

Grade 2: Writing Evaluation
Second grade students learn to respond constructively to others’ writing and determine if their own writing achieves its purposes. In Grade 2, students also identify the most effective features of a piece of writing using criteria generated by the teacher and class. Writing standards recommend that students keep and review a collection of their own written work to monitor growth as a writer.

Grade 2: Written English Language Conventions
Students in 2nd grade are expected to write and speak with a command of Standard English conventions appropriate to this grade level. In particular, 2nd grade writing standards specify these key markers of proficiency:

Sentence Structure
—Distinguish between complete and incomplete sentences.
—Use correct subject/verb and noun/pronoun agreement, as well as correct verb tenses in simple and compound sentences.

—Identify and correctly use various parts of speech, including nouns and verbs.

—Use commas in the greeting and closure of a letter and with dates and items in a series.
—Use quotation marks correctly.

—Capitalize all proper nouns, words at the beginning of sentences, letter salutations, months and days of the week, and titles and initials of people.

— Focus on regularly spelled patterns such as consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) (hop), consonant-vowel-consonant-silent e (CVCe) (hope), and one-syllable words with blends (drop).
—Spell frequently used, irregular words correctly (e.g., was, were, says, said, who, what, why).
— Write with more proficient spelling of inflectional endings such as plurals and verb tenses.
—Write with more proficient use of orthographic patterns and rules such as keep/cap, sack/book, out/cow, consonant doubling, dropping e, and changing y to i.
—Use resources to find correct spellings, synonyms, and replacement words.

—Create readable documents with legible handwriting.

Grade 2: Research and Inquiry
Second grade students learn to gather information and use writing as a tool for inquiry and research in the following ways:

  • Understand the purposes of various reference materials (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus, atlas).
  • Generate research questions and record his/her own knowledge of a topic in various ways such as by brainstorming, identifying key words, drawing pictures, making lists, and showing connections among ideas.
  • Write questions for investigating and take simple notes from relevant sources, such as classroom guests, books, and media sources.
  • Select appropriate facts and compile notes into outlines, reports, summaries, or other written efforts using available technology.
  • Record the authors and titles of works.
Closeup people hand doing mathematics homework at home

2nd Grade Writing Tests
While standardized writing tests aren’t usually given until at least third grade, second graders are still assessed in writing. In addition to evaluating student portfolios, classroom-based assessments are given in second grade. School writing tests are standards-based tests, meaning that the tests measure what students know in relation to what they’ve been taught. These tests are also known as “criterion referenced” tests and educators consider such tests to be the most useful. Standards-based tests help teachers and parents measure student progress against grade-level expectations. Second grade writing tests help pinpoint where each student needs improvement and are used to tailor instruction to the individual student.

Writing Test Preparation
The best writing test preparation in second grade is simply encouraging your child to write, raising awareness of the written word, and offering guidance on writing homework. For example, you can talk about the different purposes of writing as you encounter them, such as those of letters, recipes, grocery lists, instructions, and menus. By becoming familiar with 2nd grade writing standards, parents can offer more constructive homework support. Remember, the best writing help for kids is not to correct their essays, but offer positive feedback that prompts them use the strategies of writing process to revise their own work.

Let’s Write English Supports 2nd Grade Writing Standards
Let’s Write English is an excellent complement to second grade writing curriculum. Developed by classroom teachers, Let’s Write English targets the fundamentals of writing. Students build writing skills and deepen their understanding of the writing process by working on standard-based, grade-appropriate writing tasks under the individual guidance of a certified teacher.

Writing on a computer inspires many students, even reluctant writers. Learn more about 2nd grade writing curriculum.

For more information about general learning objectives for second grade students including math and language arts, please visit LetsReadEnglish.com.

*K-12 writing standards are defined by each state. Let’s Write English relies on a representative sampling of state writing standards, notably from Florida, Texas, and California, as well as on the standards published by nationally recognized education organizations, such as the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.