As a part of Open Window School's program, the reading curriculum is accelerated by one year. As second graders working a year ahead, students continue to focus on the reading comprehension strategies which research shows good readers use to make sense of texts. During second grade, students are formally taught or informally experience using their schema and making connections, visualizing, wondering, and questioning, using text features, making inferences, determining important ideas, analyzing text structures, summarizing, and synthesizing. They explore and practice these strategies at an appropriate level of complexity, both in terms of the reading level of the texts and the types of problems and dilemmas dealt with in the texts. This happens both through shared text that is read as a class and through individualized daily reading. Students also responded to literature through writing, art, and small group discussions.
In writing, students review writing complete sentences with a subject and predicate. Other grammar lessons include end punctuation and the rules for using capital letters within sentences. Second graders write personal narratives in journals, craft creative stories, and use the writing process to publish paragraphs on a single topic. Weekly word study lessons consist of phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction. Students learn how to break apart word patterns and features to help with reading and understanding more difficult words.
As students work together, they develop caring and respectful relationships, creating a safe and supportive classroom community conducive to sharing their thinking. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to be aware of the effect of their behavior on others. Throughout the year, students think about and act on five areas: responsibility, respect, caring, fairness, and helpfulness. Additionally, students explore other values that arise in shared texts such as courage, perseverance, gratitude, and compassion. The social skills students learn as a part of the language arts instruction help them to act on these values intentionally.