Common Core Reading Activities for 2nd Grade

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Common Core standards for second grade reading cover specific criteria. Help your students reach all goals using these activities specifically aligned with second grade standards.

Common Core Reading Standards - Second Grade

The Common Core Standards state second graders need to read and understand fiction, or literature. Specifically, second grade students need to be able to demonstrate understanding of the text by answering the 'w' questions - who, what, when, where, how and why. They also need to retell stories of a variety of genres - folktales and fables, for example. They have to understand the craft and structure of a piece of writing, and be able to integrate knowledge by applying information.

For informational text, second grade students need to tell the main topic and connect it to historical events. They also should know and use text features, such as captions and headings, and understand and identify author's purpose.

Whew! If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. The best way to help your students with these skills is to directly teach, model, and practice together as a whole group. Afterwards, students should practice in small groups before they are allowed to practice independently. Creating activities puts these skills in context but allows practice in a fun way. Let's take a look.

W - Dice

Use a blank dice template and write the 'W' words on each side. After reading a story, have students roll the dice and answer the question that pops up. Model the activity for students to make sure that they understand by playing as a whole group. Then, students can play with partners or a small group.

  • Adaptations - Apply the 'W' idea to other activities, such as writing on each section of a beach ball, on craft sticks, or task cards, then playing the 'W' game in the same manner. Add a writing component by creating a recording sheet or asking students to write their answers on a white board.

Order and Retelling

With students, write the main topics of a story on task cards or pieces of paper. Randomly hand out one sheet to each student and instruct them to line up to put the story in order. If there aren't enough for all students to have a sheet, divide students into two groups, the 'taskers' and the 'checkers.' Allow the taskers to order themselves and the checkers to check facts, then switch roles with another story.

  • Adaptations - Challenge students by having them do this activity without retelling the story first as a group. Also, use in guided-reading groups or create task cards for familiar text, such as fairy tales, and add to your literacy center for independent work.

Pass the Pie

Cut a circle out of tag board, then cut into pieces to resemble a pie. Bring in a pie pan or make one with construction paper. Write ordinal words such as 'first,' 'next,' 'then,' on each piece, then hand out to students after you read a story.

The student with the beginning prompt starts retelling the story, then places the piece into the pie-pan. Students follow in order, telling their section of the story, until the pie is built. As students retell, record on chart paper, then read together as a class.

  • Adaptations - Students can make this simple retelling visual and keep it handy at their desks, stored in a plastic zip-lock bag. It's a great visual reminder of how to retell a story. Have them bring it with them to guided reading to support reading instructional level texts.

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