The seriousness of second grade

I could tell Grade 2 was going to be a different kind of year, just from looking at that list.

Each grade in our elementary school has its own list of “no excuses” words, which are words the student should know perfectly by the end of the year — reading them and writing them with the correct spelling.

The Primary list is short — words like “a” and “it” and “is” — and even the Grade 5 list isn’t that long, with words like “through” and “though.”

The Grade 2 spelling list, however? It’s massive. Fifty two words in two long columns — by far the longest list of any grade.

I was shocked at first. Shouldn’t the list gradually get longer with each grade? Shouldn’t the Grade 5 kids — many being 11-year-olds — be learning more new words than my precious little seven-year-old?!

I laughed nervously when I asked about it during ‘meet the teacher’ (which is, by the way, hilariously nicknamed “meet the creature” by many teachers — with the parents being the creatures).

Of course, his teacher knew exactly what to say to reassure me. She said the Grade 2 list is longer than the others because there are so many basic words that need to be memorized — rather than sounded out. They need to be able to recognize these words instantly, and spell them without taking forever, because they’re going to be using them constantly.

It makes sense, but I’m still a little nervous. Everything about Grade 2 feels worlds away from the innocence of the Grade 1 pod …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

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