Second grade stories should include four distinct elements and have a noticeable beginning, middle and end. Several tools are available to help students set up a story. These include story frame graphic organizers, in which students record the four elements before beginning to write, and use of the writing process, including pre-writing, and revision. Addressing the following four areas while staying on topic and using correct grammar and punctuation will help your second grader achieve a grade-level appropriate story.
Characters in a second grade story should be introduced early, within the first sentence or two. It is helpful to give the reader some important details about the character when introducing him. For example, "Clarence Smith loved to fish," would be a good introductory sentence for a story that goes on to include events about one of Clarence's fishing trips.
The setting of a second grade story should also be introduced early on in the course of the writing. Setting should include time and place. If we continue our former example, the story might look something like this: "Clarence Smith loved to fish. He spent a lot of time near the river with his fishing pole and his dog, Rex. In fact, he was sitting on the bank by the river on a lazy Sunday afternoon when the most unexpected thing happened."
Conflict and Events
This section makes up the middle of the piece. While there is no exact number of paragraphs that make a story complete, it is important to note that the action of the story should be contained within the middle paragraphs. The main problem of the story should be introduced at this point, perhaps a large fish poking his head out of the water and jerking the pole out of Clarence's hands, followed by the actions the character takes to solve the problem. In this example, Clarence may jump in the water after the fish to retrieve his pole. Students at this level may only have a few actions before the resolution of the story is revealed. That is fine, but students should be encouraged to use descriptive language to paint a picture for the reader. Often, students stray from the main topic, including details that have nothing to do with the actual plot of the story. Discourage this practice by asking your child to explain why he included that detail.
The fourth and final piece to the puzzle is the resolution. The resolution should be about one paragraph in length and should include how the main character's problem is solved. It may also include something the character learned through the process of the story. Second grade writers should be encouraged to write how the character feels upon resolving the over-arching problem.
Alicia Anthony is a seasoned educator with more than 10 years classroom experience in the K-12 setting. She holds a Master of Education in literacy curriculum and instruction and a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She is completing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing: fiction, and working on a novel.