What Spelling Words Should a 2nd Grader Know? Tips for Parents on Improving Your Child’s Spelling


Are you looking for ways to work with your child at home to improve spelling? If so, then you most likely understand the importance placed on conventional or "correct" spelling habits. Helping your child become a better speller is easy. It just takes consistent practice and determination.

Here are a few activities and tips for working with your child to improve spelling. Included is a list of the top second-grade spelling words that you may use to guide your studies. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide an adequate representation of the types of high-frequency or popular words most children at the second-grade level should be required to spell correctly in their everyday writing.

Rebecca Sitton’s High Frequency Words

Many schools across the country rely on the Rebecca Sitton teaching method. This Sitton program has identified a word bank of 1,200 high frequency words used in everyday writing. The first 25 words are used in 33 percent of our normal, everyday writing. The first 100 words appear in approximately 50 percent of the writing completed by both students and adults, and the first 1,000 words are generally used in about 89 percent of our everyday writing. It is assumed that second grade students will be able to spell the first 170 words. Listed in order of frequency, with the first word the having the highest frequency, Sitton's list may be used along with bonus activities found on the SittonSpelling.com home page.

Dolch Words

Another popular source of grade-level spelling words for schools and school districts are the Dolch Words. This is a list of 220 words which were devised by Edward William Dolch, PhD. Like the Sitton program, Edward Dolch based the list on words commonly found. In this case, however, they are words which were commonly found in children's books of the 1930s and 1940s. It is important to note that Dolch words identified for 2nd grade students frequently overlap with the words found of the Sitton list.

Tips for Helping Your Child

There are many things that parents can do to help their children become better spellers. Here are just a few:

  • Encourage your child to read, read, read! Reading exposes your child to a wide variety of words and phrases.
  • Help your child find good memorization strategies that work for them. Often, this means trying a variety of methods.
  • Talk to your child about words – about sounds, and spelling patterns and roots words, similarities and differences. The goal is for your child to begin noticing many of these attributes on their own.
  • Play spelling games with your child.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Utilize the many spelling activities offered right here, at Bright Hub.com!

By using the lists offered above, you not only reinforce what children are already learning in school, you will be giving them the additional confidence needed to become consistent spellers. These skills will then transfer over to your child's reading and writing – which ultimately spells s-u-c-c-e-s-s!