Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

(a) Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
(b) Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).
(c) Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., addition, additional).
(d) Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words (e.g., birdhouse, lighthouse, housefly; bookshelf, notebook, bookmark).
(e) Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.


  • root word 
  • suffix 
  • word structure 
  • multiple-meaning

  • affix 
  • compound word 
  • glossary 
  • homophone



• Discussion of sentences and their respective context will help students as they learn to determine meaning of individual words
• Another important foundation of this standard is understanding that words can have “parts”
• A prefix is an example of a “part” or element that is added at the beginning of a word to alter its meaning
• Students need to understand the meaning of common prefixes, such as “pre-”, “dis”, “co-“, “re-”, and “un-“ in order to use them in writing and speaking
• A basic understanding of what it means to say “the root of the word” is a key component of this standard
• Students will also need to understand the meaning and concept of “compound words”
• Dictionary use involves knowing what a dictionary is, how a dictionary is arranged (alphabetically), and how the words are described (i.e, the part of speech, the pronunciation, the definition, etc.)
• Experience with glossaries should be included in learning about dictionaries
• Second grade students need practice using both print and digital glossaries and dictionaries, to clarify the meanings of unfamiliar words they see (in texts) or words they are considering using (in writing)

  • How does knowledge of word parts (e.g. root words, affixes) support vocabulary development? 
  • How does the ability to hear the parts of a word (clap syllables) facilitate students’ skills in identifying root words and affixes? 
  • What do teachers need to know about the structure of the English language in order to best support students in their language development? 
  • What strategies support students in making connections from known words to new words? 
  • What strategies support students in using context to determine word meanings?



Go to L.1.4 to see skills mastered prior to this.

Go to L.3.4 to see the progression of related skills.