Reading is a fundamental skill that is necessary for success in school and life. As a teacher, you need to ensure that every student in your class is developing the necessary skills to be a successful reader. Periodically assessing your second grade students' progress on a number of basic reading measures can assist you in recognizing students who need extra help to become proficient in reading.

Letter Recognition

Reading involves the ability to accurately identify letters of the alphabet. Second grade students also need to develop an understanding of letter vowel sounds, both short and long. You should quiz your students on letter recognition by providing lists in which the letters are out of order and written in various fonts. You can also have students identify the letters in certain words, and place non-letter characters within the assessment to discover students who may be struggling with letter recognition.

Sounds, Syllables, Rhymes

Learning that words are formed from separate sounds is a fundamental part of second grade reading. Phonological awareness involves identification of sounds, syllables and rhymes. Students will also begin to identify phonemes, the building blocks of words. Assessment of phonological awareness includes identifying rhyming word pairs and beginning sounds of words. Students who are proficient in these two skills should be able to read at a second grade level.


Phonemes are building blocks of words and one of the best predictors of reading success for students. Second grade students should be able to identify beginning and ending sounds of simple words. Many students are able to distinguish first and last sounds. Once a student demonstrates proficiency in first and last sounds, identifying syllables and segmentation in a word is the next focus for assessment. You should speak a particular word to your student and ask him to identify the different letter sounds within that word.


Alphabetic skill assessment gauges a student's ability to distinguish between long and short words with the same letters. You should read two words with the same letter patterns, such as "picture" and "pick," and have your student point to the word you have spoken. Students' ability to recognize the difference in words with similar letter patterns can help you assist your second graders in developing their reading skills.


Students with extensive and varied vocabularies are more likely to be proficient readers. Vocabulary consists of more than simply knowing words. Students with proficient vocabularies have knowledge not only of words, but of their synonyms and antonyms as well. Assessing your students on their word base, as well as their ability to recognize similar and opposite words, is an important part of the second grade reading assessment.

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