Parents and Guardians

This guide provides an overview of what your child will be learning in second grade. It is based on the Common Core Standards, the Massachusetts Frameworks, and the curricular approaches which have been adopted by the Somerville Public Schools. The detailed Massachusetts Frameworks are available at:

Academic standards are important. They ensure that all students, no matter where they start, are prepared for success in the next grade level, college and their careers. By defining standards clearly, we aim to help families and teachers work together to ensure that students succeed. There are some students who will need additional support to meet a standard. Other students will need more complex work to go beyond the standard. Teachers craft their day-to-day classroom instruction based on the standards, individual student needs, and the unique characters of their schools and community.

How can I support my child's learning at home?

  • Talk to your child about what they are learning in school
  • Contact your child's teacher with any questions or concerns and attend Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Check your child's folder and/or agenda book every night
  • Provide a space and a consistent time for your child to complete their homework

English Language Arts

Somerville Public Schools uses the Balanced Literacy Approach to best address the needs of all students. This approach involves mini-lessons about key reading skills, frequent and in-depth discussions, exposure to high-quality literature and non-fiction texts, and the reading of books at each student's own level. See the Somerville Curriculum website for a video and more information. Somerville classrooms also use the Fundations program in grades K-2 to build phonics and fluency skills. 

Reading - During the year, students will be working on:

  • Using multiple strategies (visualizing, making connections, predicting, using background knowledge) to read and understand fiction texts
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the characters, setting, and plot through retelling the story
  • Understanding the problem in the story and what actions the character takes to solve the problem
  • Recognizing differences in the points of view of characters
  • Asking and answering such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how as part of reading texts
  • Using multiple strategies (asking and answering questions, previewing, using background knowledge, predicting, tracking thinking) to read and understand a nonfiction text
  • Understanding the difference between the topic and the main idea
  • Identifying the main idea and key details in nonfiction texts
  • Using various text features (e.g. captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes) to find information
  • Noticing that poems use beat, rhymes, and repeated lines to create rhythm and meanings
  • Comparing multiple texts on one topic to get information and explaining what they've learned in their own words
  • Retelling stories from diverse cultures along with the lesson the story teaches
  • Telling how two versions of the same story are alike and different (ex. Cinderalla)
  • Using multiple strategies to figure out unknown words (phonics skills through Fundations, context, illustrations, re-reading)
  • Reading stories and poems aloud fluently, without pausing to figure out what each word means
  • Participating in conversations and discussions by following rules (ex. speaking one at a time, listening to others), building on others comments, and asking questions for further clarification

Writing - Somerville's new writing model introduced in the Fall of 2013 emphasizes giving students many opportunities to write each day across subject areas. As they write during the year, students in second grade will be working on:

  • Writing a paragraph that introduces an idea and supports it with details
  • Writing ideas in an order that makes sense to the reader
  • Using time words to signal event order (during, meanwhile, before, soon, after)
  • Using adjectives to make writing clear and interesting to the reader (ex. enormous, foggy, challenging)
  • Starting sentences in different ways
  • Connecting two ideas in one sentence (compound sentence) using and, but, or so
  • Using commas to separate words in a series
  • Making sure that nouns and verbs agree (ex. the dog is sitting on the bed; the two dogs are sitting)
  • Correctly spelling grade level words using resources if needed
  • Capitalizing proper nouns (ex. Somerville, John)

Over the course of the year, students will complete three types of writing: narrative (story), informative, and opinion. Examples of these in second grade could include: Writing a book about a family member, writing an opinion about a character in a story, or writing a different ending to a folktale.

How can I support my child's literacy learning at home?

  • Read to your child daily
  • Encourage your child to read daily and discuss the books he/she is reading
  • When your child shares an opinion or thought about a book, ask them why? and have them use evidence from the book
  • Encourage your child to write by keeping a diary, sending a thank you note, or a letter to family or friend


Adapted from PTA Common Core Guide and Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Critical Areas. Please see the Massachusetts Frameworks for more detailed standards and skills.

During the year, students in second grade will be working on:

  • Counting by 5s, 10s, 100s
  • Figuring out whether a number is even or odd
  • Solving challenging addition and subtraction word problems with one or two steps
  • Quickly and accurately adding with a sum of 20 or less (e.g. 11+8)
  • Quickly and accurately subtracting from a number of 20 or less (e.g. 16-9)
  • Understanding what the digits mean in three-digit numbers (place value) - (e.g. 857 is 8 hundreds + 5 tens + 7 ones)
  • Comparing three-digit numbers using <, >, and =
  • Mentally adding or subtracting 10 or 100 to a number (e.g. 757 +10, 837-100)
  • Using understanding of place value and different strategies to add and subtract up to three-digit numbers ( e.g. 811-367)
  • Solving addition and subtraction word problems involving money or length
  • Estimating the length of objects using inches, feet, centimeters, and meters
  • Using rulers to measure objects by centimeters and inches
  • Telling and writing time to the nearest 5 minutes
  • Recognizing a variety of 2D and 3D shapes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes) and explaining what makes them different (ex. number of sides, faces, angles)
  • Drawing a simple bar graph or picture graph and solving a problem by reading a graph
  • Breaking down circles and rectangles into equal halves, thirds, and quarters

How can I support my child's math learning at home?

  • Point out examples of using math in everyday life such as measuring a room or estimating the cost of items at a store
  • Practice newly acquired skills with your child at home to help build confidence (ex. math facts, addition, subtraction)

Science, Technology, and Engineering

During the year, students in second grade will be learning:

  • That water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on the earth's surface
  • How the sun supplies heat and light to the earth and is necessary for life
  • That some plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things
  • That people and other animals interact with the environment through their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste
  • That plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things
  • That fossils provide us with information about living things that inhabited the earth years ago
  • Identify objects as solid, liquid, or gas. Recognize that solids have a definite shape and that liquids and gases take the shape of their container
  • Describe the various ways that objects can move, such as in a straight line zig-zag, back-and-forth, round-and-round, fast, and slow
  • Recognize that under certain conditions, objects can be balanced
  • Identify tools and simple machines used for a specific purpose (ex. ramp, wheel, pulley, lever)

Social Studies

During the year, students in second grade will be learning:

  • About citizens' rights and responsibilities
  • To locate and name the continents, oceans, major rivers, and major mountain ranges
  • Map and globe skills
  • To locate continents, regions, and countries from which students, parents, grandparents and ancestors came
  • To find examples of traditions or cutoms from other countries found in America today
  • About individuals recognized for their achievements in all fields


The Somerville Public Schools are committed to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment in order to maximize student learning. To this end, the District strives to support students in developing the knowldge, skills, and attitude needed to:

  • Effectively communicate their needs, interests, and opinions
  • Make healthy choices
  • Respect the needs, interests, and opinions of others

--Social Competency Vision Statement, approved by the Somerville School Committee on 10/15/2007

Schools guidance counselors and other support personnel assist teachers and students to work towards attaining these goals. The staff at your child's school can give you more detailed information about the sequence of skills taught and how social/emotional skills are taught.

Specialists: The Somerville Public Schools provides each student with 40 minutes per week of instruction in General Music, Library/Media, Art, and Physical Education. The specialists at each school are available to give you more detailed information about specific skills addressed

Assessment: We believe that there is more than one way to accurately assess student learning. These include not only standardized measures such as DIBELS (Grades K-3), MCAS (Grades 3-10), and MAP (Gr. 2-8), but also more informal assessments including common end of unit assessments, reading/writing conferences, classroom participation, classroom projects, and writing assignments.

Math and ELA Year At A Glance for 2nd Grade:

Please note that this calendar is only an approximation. Some units might take more or less time depending on the needs of the students and other projects/activities happening at individual schools.

Approximate Time Frame ELA Units of Study (Based on Balanced Literacy Curriculum) Math Units of Study (Based on Investigations Curriculum)
September Launching Readers Workshop
Addition Combinations
Addition/Subtraction Story Problems
October Solving words, making meaning
Addition Combinations
Addition/Subtraction Story Problems
November Narrative
Addition/Subtraction Strategies
Place Value (100s, 10s, 1s)
December Narrative
Counting by Groups
January Poetry
Counting by Groups
Early February Non-fiction
Addition Combinations to $1.00
Skip Counting
Late February Non-fiction
Addition Combinations to $1.00
Skip Counting
March Folktales and Fairy Tales
Addition Combinations to $1.00
Skip Counting
April Folktales and Fairy Tales Fractions
May/June Non-fiction Addition/Subtraction Strategies for 100s, 10s and 1s.























Grade 2 Curriculum Guide for Parents & Guardians