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Home » Blog » Literacy » 15 Fun Literacy Activities For 2nd Grade

15 Fun Literacy Activities For 2nd Grade

Comprehension, Fluency, Literacy, Phonics, Writing & Language

Written by: Katie Palmer

We all know there are SO many ways to engage students in literacy lessons. This post is a round up of our favorite fun literacy activities for 2nd grade. AND we wanted to show you exactly how to do these activities, so read on for a look into a fun literacy classroom!

Jump to Specific 2nd Grade Literacy Skills

Reading Comprehension

Before we dive into some fun and engaging comprehension activities, let’s define this… What is comprehension? According to Wikipedia, reading comprehension is “the ability to process text, understand its meaning and integrate it into what the learner already knows”. To put it simply, to be able to read, understand and remember texts. This sound like a big task, but teachers can make it fun with the following literacy activities:

1. Comprehension Charades

This is a great way to work on vocabulary or story comprehension. Here is how to play:

  • Read a story as a class
  • When the story is done, the teacher will create charades cards for the story. Things on the card could be vocabulary words from the story (the kids will act out what the word means) or questions from the story (the kids will act out the answer). Example charades question for Little Red Riding Hood: Who was Little Red on her way to visit? Act out your answer. (The answer is “grandma” so the student would act out that word.)
  • Repeat until you think all students have a good comprehension of the story. (Finish with a story quiz to see if the charades activity helped cement their comprehension.)
Red Riding Hood book with reading charades question written on a sticky note, "Who was Little Red on her way to visit?" Act out your answer

2. Book Poster

When a student finds a book they like, they love to tell their friends about it. Why not let them do just that, but in a fun and artistic way? Book posters have the same idea as movie posters: advertise why someone should read that book (or see that movie). Once students are done with a book, give them a blank piece of construction paper. There are a couple ways teachers can assign these posters:

  1. Have students create a new book cover with a beginning, middle and end picture. (Just remind them that the end picture should NOT give away the ending!)
  2. Have students draw a book cover based on a comprehension question from the teacher. For example, if they question was, “Who is the hero of the story?”, the student would create a book cover featuring just the main character with as many details as possible.
book poster about the babysitters club

3. Act it Out

Kids love readers theater. Use that excitement to have them use their creative part of their brain to write a play, make a movie or perform a puppet show based on a book’s plot, or comprehension questions provided by the teacher. Students can make their own puppets using construction paper and popsicle sticks.

4. Comprehension Centers

If you want a comprehension resource that is print-n-go AND has tons of practice opportunities, look no further than the 2nd Grade Reading Centers from Lucky Little Learners. Perk: they are available in printable and digital format.

point of view and retelling nonfiction comprehension literacy centers

Read more about these centers here: 2nd Grade Reading Centers

Phonics

Phonics matching letters up to sounds, and at some point, knowing these sounds put together make words. But how to make this fun? Here are a few ideas:

5. Word Family Races

Maybe you saw the word races and thought, “Nope, I do not want kids running all over my classroom!”. Well, luckily this is a different type of race. Word family races work like this:

  • Give the students a word family chunk (ick, at, ing for example)
  • Next, set a timer for one minute.
  • Students race to see how many words they can spell in that word family before the timer goes off.
  • After the timer goes off, have the students share their words.
  • Total up the points: 1 point for each word, 2 points if it is spelled correctly.

Word family races are a great way to get kids thinking about the sounds that make up words. One more thing, this game is best played during small group instruction so the teacher can take the time to talk to the students about the words they wrote.

6. Phonics Bingo

What kid doesn’t love bingo? Bonus for this type of bingo: the students make the cards. Here are the steps:

  • Provide each student with a blank bingo card. Here is a FREE bingo card site. From this site the teacher has the choice to print blank cards.
  • Give students a list of words to write in the card. They can focus on certain sounds they are learning or have struggled with.
  • Don’t forget to cut up your own list of the words and put them in a bucket or bowl.

Students will love it!

7. Word Chains

You may be thinking word chains aren’t fun for kids. But let me tell you, when I say, “Grab your whiteboards and markers. We are going to do word chains.” Kids are pumped! They love the challenge of it AND I celebrate big time when they get all the words correct. I’m talking get up and dance. Word chains are powerful because students only have to change one sound in each word, thus allowing them to really think about the sounds of words. Students will feel SO much success! If your reading curriculum did not come with word chain lists, no problem. Dyslexic Logic has a ton of free lists!

word chain: clap-clip-slip-slit-spit-spot-span-plan

8. Phonics Poems

This is a favorite on this list! Phonics poems not only focus on a phonics sound, they are fun to read. Plus, they feature vocabulary, fluency and comprehension activities as well.

These poems feature 80 sounds! Use them for sound review, or in small or whole group.

Read about Phonics Poems here: A Weekly Routine to Build Fluency Using Phonics Poem

Download HERE

Writing & Grammar

9. Mad Libs

This is another student favorite! Mad Libs are an amazing way to review/practice parts of speech without it being just another noun, verb, adjective sort! When I do these, I always do them whole group before I assign them during stations. I have my students come sit up front. I draw a name for each blank. If the student can’t think of anything, the class helps them. They LOVE to hear me read the story in the end!

A couple tips:

  • Be sure to practice all of the parts of speech included in the mad libs before working on it! Students should be pretty comfortable with these concepts before doing Mad Libs.
  • You can find a few free printable mad libs from the actual website HERE.

10. Ridiculous Writing

Sometimes students struggle to think of what to write about. Because of this, many teachers provide prompts. But still, these students struggle to get pencil to paper. Here is an idea that I call ridiculous writing that has proven to get even my least confident writers writing.

ridiculous writing activity about a silly picture of a real life giraffe climbing a tree

Kids will love writing a story about this, or for the more reluctant writers, just describing what they think is happening. To find pictures to use, simply google, “silly pictures for kids to write about”. After writing, have an author share chair!

11. Monthly Writing Prompts

As we talked about above, some students just need a little help when it comes to writing ideas. Lucky Little Learners has prompts for each month of the year that can be used as monthly writing journals.

monthly writing prompts for 2nd grade

There are 20 prompts per month, so students are sure to be busy. The prompts are a mix of narrative, informational, opinion and even included a few free writes.

Read more about them here: No Prep 2nd Grade Writing Prompts

Fluency

Fluency is way more than timing students reading for a minute. It is about accuracy, expression and tone as well as speed. Check out these resources.

12. Reader’s Theater

Reader’s theater is fun AND really helps with fluency as well as read aloud skills like expression. This can be done just one day with students getting a script and reading it with a group OR teachers and students can go all out with costumes, props and an audience. We will let you decide what works best for your classroom. Are the ideas flowing?! Below is a list of websites offering free reader’s theater scripts for teachers. Be sure to choose one students can read comfortably. Action!

RT Scripts-Dr. Chase Young

Teaching Heart Free Scripts

Aaron’s Scripts

13. Pyramid Sentences

The Florida Center for Reading Research has TONS of reading resources and interventions. If you have not checked out their site I highly recommend it! One such intervention targets fluency in a fun way:Sailboat reading. This could also be called pyramid reading. In this intervention, the fluency passage is written by adding one word on each line.

Once you download and do FCRR’s resource, you can create your own with any fluency passage you have! In the past, students have enjoyed when I timed them for each page! They decide how much time they will need for each and love the challenge.

14. Character Voices

This idea is just plain fun. Have students read a selected passage with different character voices. Examples voices:

  • Cowboy
  • Alien
  • Baby
  • Underwater
  • Whisper

You get the idea!

15. Sight Word Fluency Sticks

Our last idea is a great way to differentiate sight word fluency. After given a sight word assessment, students get rings (or baggies) of sight words to work on. A fun way to do this, if possible, is three rings on a ruler. The rings stand for: Words Read, Words to Work on and Words to learn later.

sight word fluency sticks assembled using plastic rulers and word cards on rings

Read more about Sight Word Fluency Sticks here: Sight Word Fluency Sticks

Download Sight Word Fluency Sticks HERE

Bonus: Our Favorite of all the Fun Literacy Activities for 2nd Grade!

An Activity for ALL literacy areas: Toothy. Toothy is an amazingly fun and engaging review game. It is available in almost all topics in all subjects. Bonus: once students know how to play Toothy, they will be able to do so independently.

Download HERE

Let us know which of these fun literacy activities for 2nd grade you tried in the comments below!

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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