Fun Summer Activities to Prepare for Second Grade

Fun with Language

Second grade is a big year for language and literacy development. The typical first-grader, if there is one, finished the year with some formidable skills, such as the ability to read and write most simple words, possibly with some effort; recognize lots of common words on sight; and tell time to the nearest half- or quarter-hour.

This year, language skills will expand to include reading with increased fluency and speed, and "sight words" will become less of a focus as reading replaces recognition. Your child's vocabulary will begin to grow by leaps and bounds.

So let's have fun with that:

Opening Night!

Do you have an actor on your hands? If so, put that talent to good use. On a rainy afternoon, sit down at the kitchen table and write a (very) short play together, with your child doing most of the writing. Next, run lines until the star can read his or hers fluently, involving other family members if the script calls for it. Then, act it out! The show can be an intimate event, of course, but you can make it even more exciting by inviting over some friends and family to watch the play.

Use That Word!

Vocabulary practice doesn't have to mean flash cards. Word-a-day calendars can be so much fun, and sometimes downright funny, and there's no rule against kids having some million-dollar words in their repertoire. So find a fun one, and put it right where your child will see it first thing in the morning. Each day, let your child turn the page and add a brand-new entry to that growing vocabulary. Get the whole family involved, and see who can use the word the most -- correctly, of course -- with a running tally through the day. Winner picks tomorrow night's dinner!

Reading Road Trip!

Remember Punch Buggy? Or maybe you know it as Slug Bug? Well, this game will be kind of like that. But with no punching. And with words instead of VW Bugs. But other than that, it's the same, and it's ideal for those long summer drives. Decide together on a transportation-related word before heading out in the car, probably one that's at least somewhat familiar (like "stop" or "car" or "exit"), and bring along paper and pencil for scoring. Each time either of you spots that word, you call it out, and your child makes a tally mark. Winner gets an ice-cream cone! And so does runner-up!

Next, making good use of all those tally marks ...