Second Grade

Second grade is a year of reinforcement of the fundamental skills acquired in the early years. Through a strong phonics emphasis, we focus on strengthening the reading and comprehension skills that will be needed as students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. In math, we focus on mastery of the fundamentals of math facts, number sense, money, time, and measurement. Second graders enjoy bringing history to life when they study famous Americans and watch them come to life in our Living History Museum. They also present their play in September highlighting the lessons learned at Camp Learned A Lot, and then get to celebrate a year of learning with a week of camp activities in May.

Curriculum Highlights


•    Reading: The Second grade literacy program encompasses reading comprehension, fluency, phonics, spelling, and grammar. We use SRA/McGraw Hill’s Imagine It reading program to help our second graders transition from learning to read to reading to learn. The program has a strong emphasis on reading comprehension strategies and skills and the stories link nicely with our social studies and science curriculum. Reading fluency is an important skill for strong readers, so we combine the fluency components of Imagine It with independent reading practice. Our Second graders’ fluency rates are assessed throughout the year. Each year, the growth in fluency is exciting for students and teachers alike.

•    Phonics/Spelling: Our phonics and spelling program is based on the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory method. Each week we cover a phonetic sound, and 6-10 words that do not follow phonics rules must be memorized. We hold spelling bees at least twice a year.

•    Grammar: This year we are adopting Shurley English to build a stronger grammar base for our students. This program teaches the important rules of grammar using catchy songs and jingles, with the result of committing to memory and reinforcing the many rules of the English language.

•    Independent Reading: In Second grade our required independent reading is called Sparky Book Club. Our students must complete a certain number of books each month. At times, we require students to read about a particular topic or to complete a book report. Each month the Second graders take Accelerated Reader tests to assess themselves on comprehension. Our students meet the monthly requirements by reading independently at home and at school. Each student is encouraged to build on his or her reading level. The lists of books completed are collected each month and returned to the students at the end of the year. Students, parents, and teachers are always amazed at how many books are read and how much reading levels increase.


Mastery of print is the primary focus of handwriting in Second grade. Special attention is given to pencil grip and proper letter formation. Neatness of handwriting is stressed as well. We have found that Second grade is the perfect year to work on print mastery before cursive is introduced in Third grade. We hold a handwriting contest each year, which brings out the best penmanship in each grade level. Each year's "Handwriting Award" is treasured by our winners!


The foundation of our K-4 mathematics program is Math in Focus, a curriculum focused on problem solving through real-world and hands-on experiences.Students are taught to think critically about math by moving through a sequence of concrete (manipulatives) to pictorial (bar models) to abstract (formulas/algorithms) learning.To achieve mastery, students will learn the “why” behind each mathematical concept before learning the “how”.The ability to apply knowledge to routine as well as non-routine math problems is an integral part of demonstrating mastery of math concepts.

In grades 2-4, math classes are departmentalized and taught according to ability.Through on-going assessments and the support of a math specialist/resource teacher, teachers are able to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of each individual student.Academic support and enrichment are both part of the daily math experience in the lower school.

At Wesleyan, we believe success in math cannot be achieved without mastery of math facts, therefore each grade level has its own math fact mastery expectations. Research shows students who are able to recall math facts quickly free up working memory that can then be devoted to more difficult problem solving.


Second grade students have two 45-minute science classes per week in the well-equipped Lower School science lab. Topics of study include: matter; weather; the skeletal system; plants; and, animals. Each unit is reinforced with hands-on activities and experiments which include: growing plants for the garden; observing the butterfly life cycle; and, an animal habitat project.

The Wesleyan Lower School science program is fortunate to have a variety of amenities, including: a well-equipped laboratory; an interactive whiteboard; a classroom garden; an outdoor classroom; two aquaria; a plant light; and, multiple worm bins. All science study units are reinforced with hands-on activities where investigative skills are practiced. In addition, the science program is designed to increase computer proficiency, enforce consistent study habits, improve organizational skills, and improve literacy skills for expository texts.


The Second grade curriculum is an in-depth study of the life of Moses. From his birth and childhood in Pharaoh's palace in Egypt, the journey through the desert and the receiving of the Ten Commandments, to his death in Moab at the door of the Promised Land, students learn of his unwavering faithfulness and obedience to God, and how that relates today. Students conclude the year by studying the last 40 days of Christ and His teachings. They will develop an understanding of His purpose on earth and the personal relationship we can have with Him today.

Physical Education

Children are introduced to more complex motor skills through participation in group activities including basic soccer, basketball, volleyball and kickball. The concepts of sportsmanship and personal effort are emphasized. Various issues such as hygiene, accident prevention and basic first aid are addressed during health class.


Spanish instruction is offered three times a week. Students' Spanish vocabulary builds upon language acquired in Kindergarten and First grade. This natural language progression enables students to interact more readily in an immersion-style setting. In addition to games, stories and songs, reading becomes a key component of the Second grade Spanish curriculum. At every grade level, new vocabulary is introduced, allowing students new to the program to quickly catch up to speed.


Second graders meet weekly for 45 minutes of art instruction, during which they are introduced to the balance, emphasis and proportion of design. Students learn to use and recognize differences in art media, and practice manipulating, scoring and glazing clay. They learn to use line to make objects appear three-dimensional. Students are exposed to different cultures in the context of art, the different styles of art, and famous artists and works. There is also an emphasis on expanding students' art vocabulary.


Students are given the opportunity to fine-tune their singing voices by participating in either Wesleyan Girl Choristers or Wesleyan Boy Choristers. Knowledge of musical notation is expanded. Children are exposed to a variety of music and begin to analyze and describe it verbally and through movement and art. Use of instruments becomes even more complex.


Second graders participate in a library orientation in which library layout, procedures and rules, and book care are reviewed. Independently, students browse shelves or use a computer to locate materials. Students discriminate between realism and fantasy, draw conclusions, and make predictions and comparisons of texts. Students' knowledge of book arrangement by alphabetical or numeric order is expanded. Students use dictionaries, nonfiction books, and hard copy and online encyclopedias as information sources. Students experience an assortment of literary forms through read-aloud texts, and students are encouraged to independently read a variety of books for information and for pleasure.

Social Studies

Our social studies program links well with our reading program. We learn about the regions of our country, historic sites in America, and the contributions of famous Americans. We also focus on map skills. The most popular social studies activity is our Famous American Day. Each student reads a biography on a famous American, writes a book report about this person, then comes to school dressed as that American. The students present their reports to their homerooms, and end the day with a Famous American parade around the lower school.

Creative Writing

Creative writing is a fun activity for our Second grade students; they are able to use their creativity while learning important writing skills. We use the writing process of brainstorming with graphic organizers, writing rough drafts, editing those drafts, and producing a final copy. The students learn to write a paragraph, a friendly letter, research reports, biographies, poetry, book reports, and much more.