Second grade is the time when most young readers are beginning to move beyond the basics of decoding and into reading fluency and comprehension. These second grade reading comprehension activities will help your students enjoy taking a closer look at what they’re reading while they build the skills they need to become better readers.

1. Build a pyramid.

Printout of reading comprehension activity using plastic cups with symbols on them

This idea was born out of one teacher’s students’ eternal love for constructing cup towers at any chance possible! The cups are coded with symbols to represent different story elements. After reading their leveled text, students share each story element while building their cup pyramid from the bottom up. They can then record the story elements on the matching graphic organizer.

Learn more: Teach Outside the Box

2. Clip together a reading strategy fan.

Reading strategy cards joined together to form a fan

Modeling is the best way to guide students through reading comprehension strategies, but unless they’re actively participating in the process, they simply won’t retain enough of the strategy to make any meaningful difference in their own independent comprehension of text. That’s where these strategy fans come in. The link below shows how this teacher uses the cards in her class.

Learn more: Organized Classroom

3. Use a volcano graphic organizer.

Drawing of a volcano divided into three parts for students to record their thoughts on reading a book beginning, middle and end

Demonstrate how to draw a simple volcano shape, divided into three sections, and have students draw one in their reading journal. After reading the first few pages of the story, ask students to write first impressions at the base of the volcano. This is also a good place to make predictions about where they think the story is going. At about the halfway point, have students write what they think and how they think the story is changing. Once they have finished reading, they will write what they think the story is really trying to teach them and what they took away from the story at the top of the volcano.

Learn more: Student Treasures 

4. Compare characters.

Reading comprehension worksheet for 2nd graders to compare characters in a story

Encourage your students to think more deeply about the characters in a story. In the head of each figure, ask students to write a character’s name. Then have them write specific character attributes about the character in the torso section. In the circle between the characters, have them write shared characteristics between the two figures.

Learn more: Florida Center for Reading Research

5. Construct a comprehension cootie catcher.

Cootie catcher -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

Once the bane of classroom teachers, cootie catchers have become a novel way to practice skills that kids can get excited about. This free download from The Classroom Game Nook includes three versions with questions about characters, setting, plot, and more.

Learn more: The Classroom Game Nook

6. Put on a retelling glove.

Retelling glove -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

Retelling is a vital skill for young readers to work on to help them understand what they are reading. These gloves are a snappy accessory with labels that you can easily change. For fiction retellings, you can include setting, characters, problem, events, and solution. For nonfiction retellings, you can include main idea and supporting details. At the bottom of the glove, you can focus on making connections.

Learn more: Spreading Joy One Giggle at a Time

7. Create a WANTED poster.

WANTED poster -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

This free lesson from is a fun writing and drawing activity that has students take what they know about the bad person in the story and turn the details into a colorful wanted poster.

Learn more:

8. Roll and chat your way to understanding.

Roll and chat -- 2nd grade reading comprehension activities

This fun reading comprehension game is a great activity for station or small group work. Players take turns rolling dice and answering questions about their reading.

Learn more: Playful in Primary

9. Toss a story ball around.

Toss a story ball -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

Kids will love this version of toss using a beach ball customized with questions that can be used for any reading passage. It’s a great activity for review or when you want to keep the learning going, but your kids need to get up and move.

Learn more: Coffee Cups and Crayons

10. Follow a yellow brick road.

Follow a yellow brick road -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

This fun lesson is another way to work on retelling skills. Print out these free story element cards. Then, lay them out to create a road. As students hop from one yellow “brick” to the next, they retell the story.

Learn more: Cara Carroll

11. Make a shutter book.

Make a shutter book -- 2nd grade reading comprehension

This lovely foldable book is a great way for students to show their understanding of story elements in a colorful way. This is a great guided reading project to go along with a read-aloud.

Learn more: Upper Elementary Snapshots

12. Make book talks a regular part of your literacy block.

Idea cards for a student book talk

Book talks are a great way for students to demonstrate their reading comprehension. But sometimes, when students get up in front of others, they’re not quite sure what to talk about. Download these adorable topic cards to guide students as they tell their classmates about what they are reading.

Learn more: Teacher’s Takeout

Looking for more ways to encourage your second graders’ love of reading? Check out our second grade books.

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12 Fun Second Grade Reading Comprehension Activities