Our 2nd grade reading list makes picking books for your homeschooled 2nd grader easy! We discuss the educational and reading goals for typical second graders, or you can skip straight to the recommended 2nd grade reading list.
Click to download a PDF of the 2nd Grade Reading List
As the second grade begins, your child will likely feel more confident as a student. They’ve successfully completed first grade and possibly preschool and kindergarten. So, for most second graders, school will no longer seem frightening or confusing.
If you homeschooled your child last year, the start of year two can bring a confidence boost for you as well. After all, you’ve successfully completed year one. By now, you have a much better understanding of how your child learns. See our 2nd grade book recommendations below.
An Overview of Second Grade Reading
In the second grade, reading and writing lessons become more complex. Homework will become more regular than in the first grade. Second graders can typically handle at least a half hour of homework three nights a week.
Homeschools have two common approaches to homework. Some families prefer a designated “school area” where lessons are taught and all assigned work is completed. This is often a dedicated room in the house which has no function besides a classroom.
Another popular approach is a situation where lessons are taught in one room and the student does homework somewhere else. The idea is to create a room in the house which is the school while a desk in the bedroom serves as a place for independent study. This helps the child learn good study habits.
There’s no one correct method. Use whatever works best for you and your child. The main point is to increase the frequency of homework which your child will begin to work on independently.
Overall Goals for Second Grade
Now that your child has completed first grade, he or she should be more comfortable with school in general. This means you can spend less time on “school-based” lessons – such as how to listen, sit quietly, complete assignments and so on. Instead, you can focus more on the specific subjects. Your student will be able to sit longer so reading assignments can be more complex.
Reading Goals for the Second Grade
All children are different. One of the huge advantages of homeschool is that children are allowed to progress at their own pace. Lessons can be tailored to the student’s individual interests, which is especially useful for reading where there are so many suitable books available.
While you’ll still want to read to the student in class, second graders can also read alone. In fact, second grade is usually where children will start to develop the concept of reading alone for pleasure. This is also when children can be introduced to chapter books. Longer stories with three-act structures can be introduced. Second graders are usually able to understand stories which can be read over the course of several days.
Additional Reading Goals
- Second graders will start to recognize words in groups instead of as individual letters. This includes recognizing words within other words. An example would be seeing the word “eat” inside the word “treat.”
- Independent reading should be used to improve reading comprehension. This is when students will start to identify the main idea of the story and supporting details. Students should also be able to answer text-based questions. This goal is also a part of Common Core.
- Students should be able to retell a story they’ve read using specific plot details.
- The concept of basic parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives is introduced this year.
- Students will write small, basic letters for use in the real world. These can be thank you letters to grandparents, a detailed letter to Santa or something similar. Students may also keep a basic journal.
- Students will read non-fiction books which introduce non-fiction concepts. This is the start of students learning how to read in order to discover new information.
Additional Writing Goals
- Students will begin to notice punctuation use and learn basic punctuation rules.
- Spelling tests are a regular part of second grade curriculum. Students will learn to spell longer and more sophisticated words, including words with several syllables.
- Students will learn to use capital letters.
- Students will work to print legibly.
- Student will learn to print on wide-ruled notebook paper.
Second grade is where you want to teach two main concepts: the general mechanics of writing and the general story structure of reading. This is when you introduce parts of speech, punctuation, spelling lessons, longer words and other elements of style.
Multi-chapter stories are a great way to introduce concepts such as plot, main characters, setting, solution, theme and more. Having the student predict what happens next in the story and having the student retell the story in his or her own words are both great teaching tools in this area.
Second Grade Reading List
Are you searching for a 2nd grade reading list to supplement your child’s other studies? Here are some recommended books for second grade students.
We included a list of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and classic novels that you may even remember reading when you were younger. If you missed them as a kid, you may still enjoy them now.
Click on the story name link for a book description and reviews from Amazon if you want to learn more.
Ivy & Bean’s Secret Treasure Box (Books 1-3) by Annie Barrows
Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn
Violet Mackerel’s Outside-the-Box Set: Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot, Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery, Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat, Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space by Anna Branford
Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure! by Jeff Brown
The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One by Kate DiCamillo
Nikki and Deja: Nikki and Deja, Book One by Karen English
Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade: Book 1 (Princess Posey, First Grader) by Stephanie Greene
Just Grace (The Just Grace Series) by Charise Mericle Harper
Ballpark Mysteries 1: The Fenway Foul-up by David A. Kelly
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
Stink: The Super-Incredible Collection: Books 1-3 by Megan McDonald
Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy’s Tres Charming Chapter Book Box Set: Books 1-3 by Jane O’Connor
Clementine (A Clementine Book) by Sara Pennypacker
A to Z Mysteries (26 Book Set) by Ron Roy
The No-Dogs-Allowed Rule by Kashmira Sheth
Thea Stilton and the Mystery in Paris (Geronimo Stilton Special Edition) by Thea Stilton
Lulu and the Brontosaurus (The Lulu Series) by Judith Viorst
Daisy Dawson Is on Her Way! by Steve Voake
EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken by Sally Warner
About Space (We Both Read – Level 1-2 (Quality)) by Jana Carson
Coral Reefs: A Journey Through an Aquatic World Full of Wonder by Jason Chin
I Fall Down (Science Play) by Vicki Cobb
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons
Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend) by Deborah Hokinson
Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza?: Mysteries Science Hasn’t Solved by Lenny Hort
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins
Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why by Lita Judge
Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy
Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
Astronaut Handbook by Meghan McCarthy
Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds
Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food by Cris Peterson
Island Grows, An by Lola M. Schaefer
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
National Geographic Readers: Penguins! by Anne Schreiber
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh
Insect Detective: Read and Wonder by Steve Voake
Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter
Other Second Grade Reading Recommendations
My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
David Gets In Trouble by David Shannon
Magic Tree House Series
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 5-8: Night of the Ninjas, Afternoon on the Amazon, Sunset of the Sabertooth, and Midnight on the Moon by Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 9-12: Dolphins at Daybreak, Ghost Town at Sundown, Lions at Lunchtime, and Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 13-16: Vacation Under the Volcano, Day of the Dragon King, Viking Ships at Sunrise, and Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
Magic Tree House Volumes 17-20 Boxed Set: The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog (Magic Tree House (R)) by Mary Pope Osborne
Dust for Dinner (I Can Read Book – Level 3) by Ann Turner
Binky the Space Cat (A Binky Adventure) by Ashley Spires
Click here to see recommended books for other grade levels.
A love of reading will help your child succeed in school for years to come. So while you do want to concentrate on the specific goals listed above, you also want to just generally encourage reading throughout the second grade. The reading list above contains a diverse selection of books. As your student finds books he or she likes, you can then implement the reading and writing lessons. Second grade is an exciting time for budding readers.
Just a note to let you know that we do not receive any compensation from publishers or authors for placement of any books listed here. However, we may receive a commission for purchases made through affiliate links.
Any update on the PDF? That will be wonderful!
Thank you so much for providing this list! It would be helpful to have a pdf to download though 🙂
That’s in the works and should be up on the site soon. Thank you for the suggestion!