School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 1. Develop comprehension skills by reading a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts

Objective c. Identify characteristics of, different types of fictional literary texts, such as plays, poems, stories (folktales, fairy tales, fantasy, fables, realistic fiction, and historical fiction)


Students should be exposed to the different forms of literary fiction through careful selection by the teacher of texts for read aloud, shared reading, guided reading and independent reading experiences. Rich discussion about the type of text and the characteristics that make it unique to a genre should be discussed at this age, however, instruction shouldn't center on the memorization of lists of genre characteristics. Literary forms appropriate for exploration at this age include stories, poems, and plays. In addition to their literary value, poems and plays have been shown to motivate students to do the repeated readings necessary to build fluency. There are many online sources for poems and plays. Many reader's theater scripts are available as well. Reader's theater scripts are meant to be read and not performed. The emphasis here is on the dialogue. Plays are meant to be performed so their script includes dialogue and action (stage directions). It is important to use both forms of drama in the class.


Select a children's book that has an available reader's theater script. Several websites with reader's theater scripts include,, and Read the selected book aloud or in shared reading fashion. Discuss the story. Provide students with copies of the reader's theater script. Compare the story to the script. Ask questions such as: Does the script tell the same story? What is left out of the script? Who are the characters in the script? How would the characters say their lines? Then assign parts and have students read through the script. Next, locate a copy of a grade appropriate play. One resource for teachers is Practical Plays (2nd Ed.) by Pamela Marx. Compare the parts of the play with the reader's theater script. Explain that a play is meant to be performed. Directions are included about the actions the actors should perform while they are saying their lines from memory. Place volunteers in a designated stage area. Have students use the stage directions to visualize the movement. Have volunteers read their lines while completing the movements found in the stage directions. Discuss how all 3 pieces of literature told a story, but each in its own unique way.


Students have been exposed to poetry since their entry into school through read aloud and shared reading activities. In second grade, reading aloud a poem a day is still a good practice. You can vary the poetry styles and introduce students to poems that do not rhyme. Introduce the poem to the students by reading aloud to establish a rhythm. Have students read along by projecting the poem on a smart board or overhead. Reread familiar poems throughout the school year. Allow students to request favorites. There are many anthologies of poems available for children. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, collected by Jack Prelutsky, has over 500 poems organized by a number of child appropriate topics. Some anthologies contain poems about one particular topic such as this same author's collection, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight. Some poems are written or adapted for a variety of choral reading styles. Second graders enjoy taking different voices in the poems. You Read to Me; I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman is a collection of poems that are meant to be read aloud in readers theater style. Many websites are dedicated to sharing children's poetry through read aloud, choral reading and student read along. Some teacher oriented sites include: theater.aspx,,, and


Primary students should be introduced to prose representing a number of different genres. Poems and plays can also represent those same genres. Introduce a genre by selecting a representative story, poem or play. Discuss the characteristics of the genre and then read aloud the story. Guide the students in identifying the elements of the story that confirm its genre. Start a class genre list. See below:

Genre - Fantasy
1. Fiction (not true)
2. animals or objects that act, talk, or dress like humans
3. people in fantastic situations or with super powers
Book Title Author Characteristics
The Dog that Pitched a No Hitter Matt Christopher Real people and modern setting, but the dog communicates through ESP with main character
Arthur Meets the President Marc Brown Characters are animals that act, talk and dress like humans

Display other books from your classroom library that are representative of the same genre. If students have read the books they can tell their classmates what characteristics make it a __________ and add it to the class chart. Tell students that when they read a book from the genre its title can be added to the class chart. Continue interest in the genre by continuing to choose books, poems, and plays for read aloud, shared reading, and guided reading. Add titles to the class chart. Introduce a new genre following the same procedures when the students are ready for a change. Some typical 2nd grade genres with examples are listed below.

Literary Fiction
Folktales —
Stories passed by word of mouth from generation to generation
Drummer Hoff (poem)by B. Emberly
Stone Soup (story) by A. McGovern
In A Dark Dark Room by A. Schwartz
Fables —
brief tales that teach lessons about human nature
The Boy Who Cried Wolf (story) by F. Littledale
City Mouse, Country Mouse (story) by J. Wallner
Fables by Arnold Lobel
The Blind Man and the Elephant (story) by K. Blackstein
Fairy tales —
stories about imaginary beings possessing magical powers
A Frog Prince (story) by A. Berenzy
Bremen-Town Musicians (story) by I. Plume
Snow White and Rose Red (story) by F. Hunia
Hansel & Gretel by M. Thaler
Realistic Fiction —
stories set in the modern world
Chalkbox Kid by C. Bulla
I Speak English for My Mom by M. Stanek
When I Am Old With You by A. Johnson
Four on the Shore by E. Marshall
Historical Fiction —
stories set in the past, may reference actual people and events
Laura Ingalls Wilder books
Small Wolf (story) by N. Benchley
Sam the Minuteman (story) by N. Benchley
The Drinking Gourd (story) by F.N. Monjo
Fantasy —
Stories that contain unreal or fantastic elements
Where the Wild Things Are (story) by Maurice Sendak
Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver (story) by J. VanLeeuwen
Detective Dinosaur by B. Bash
Martha and George by J. Marshall
The Littles by J. Peterson