Year 2 English: what your child learns

Close up of boy practising writing
Are you keen to keep up with what your child is learning in English lessons? You can, with this guide to classes in Year 2.

Literacy is a daily lesson, made up of three aspects:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

Across these areas, the children will be working with a range of material, including stories, non-fiction and poetry. They will be looking at stories with familiar settings, traditional tales, and different stories by the same author.

Reading in Year 2 – your child will be:

  • Reading around 150 high frequency words automatically
  • Blending sounds to work out new words
  • Reading longer and less familiar texts
  • Reading whole books on their own
  • Explaining stories and identifying characters
  • Recognising prefixes and suffixes

Most children are becoming more confident readers by Year 2. They will probably still be working through the school reading scheme, and will be reading with the teacher and in small groups (guided reading).

Try this at home:

  • Read books together, taking turns and talking about the parts you liked
  • Encourage your child to look at non-fiction books, for example encyclopaedias, dictionaries or an atlas.
  • If your child develops a liking for a certain author, find as many of their books as possible
  • If you have a blackboard, write simple messages for your child to read

Writing in Year 2 – your child will be:

  • Writing clearly, using the correct capital and lower case letters
  • Using the correct spacing between words
  • Beginning to join some letters
  • Using question marks and commas
  • Becoming more confident with spelling, both familiar and new words (read our parents' guide to Year 2 spelling for a more detailed overview)
  • Using the past tense with regular verbs
  • Using time connectives

During Year 2 the children are encouraged to think about and plan their writing, so they are able to move on from the simple stories they wrote in year 1. By the end of Year 2 their stories will include some description and dialogue.

Try this at home:

  • Make writing part of a game: play shops, schools or cafes and make writing fun
  • Buy your child their own notebook to write stories or make a fact file about their favourite animal or football team
  • Start a scrapbook and encourage your child to have a go at captions and labels

Speaking and listening in Year 2 – your child will be:

  • Reading aloud clearly and with expression
  • Using a wide vocabulary
  • Listening to other children and adults, and remembering the main ideas
  • Following instructions

During the year they will have the chance to tell stories and put on short performances, designed to help them speak in front of an audience, and develop their intonation. They may also have the chance to see other groups perform. They will be thinking about how they work as groups, learning to take turns as they listen and talk to each other.

Try this at home:

  • Ask your child to talk about the best thing that happened during the day
  • Put on a puppet show – it needn’t be anything fancy, sock or finger puppets would do the job – and play different characters
  • Encourage your child to describe their drawings and make up a story to match

In the run-up to KS1 SATs at-home practice and support is important; our Year 2 English worksheets will help your child revise what they're learning at school with some fun activities. You can also download KS1 SATs English papers to check your child's progress and help boost their confidence about the Y2 tests or follow our KS1 SATs Learning Journey.

Check your Y2 child's progress in English with our free Y2 English Progress checks, three mini-tests for the autumn, spring and summer terms.