Grade 2: Comparing Characters’ Responses to Events


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W.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.


L.2.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.2.1 (a) Use collective nouns (e.g., group).

L.2.1 (b) Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).

L.2.1 (c) Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).

L.2.1 (d) Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).

L.2.1 (e) Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

L.2.1 (f) Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).

L.2.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.2.2(a) Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.

L.2.2(b) Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.

L.2.2(c) Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

L.2.2(d) Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage → badge; boy → boil).

L.2.2(e) Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

L.2.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

L.2.3 (a) Compare formal and informal uses of English

L.2.4 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.

L.2.4 (a) Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

L.2.4 (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).

L.2.4 (c) Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., addition, additional).

L.2.4 (d) Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words (e.g., birdhouse, lighthouse, housefly; bookshelf, notebook, bookmark).

L.2.4 (e) Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.


This Grade 2 assessment titled “Comparing Characters’ Responses to Events” created by Catherine H. Miller, Jeanne M. Coherd, Shay C. Eli, and Theresa Bennett for Literacy Design Collaborative is a curriculum embedded task that takes approximately 3-5 days to complete. In the unit, students read GRANDPA’S STORY by Dyann DiSalvo Ryan, looking closely at the illustrations and focusing on the reactions of two different characters. They take notes and discuss the topic with classmates. In the performance task, students demonstrate their understanding of how to write an informational essay that compares and contrasts the views of others by independently writing a response to the question, “Why do characters respond differently to events and challenges in a story?” that is supported with evidence from the text.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the performance task asks students to address a complex CCSS grade 5 skill (compare/analyze how two characters in a story who respond differently to the same event). The instructional scaffolding provided with the task along with the grade level of the book (which includes pictures), make the task content accessible to second graders. The text used for the performance task, GRANDPA’S CORNER STORY by Dyann DiSalvo Ryan, is not provided and will need to be secured.


This performance task is a good example of how to provide students with multiple opportunities to apply advancing literacy skills as they present ideas and information through writing. The task is focused and text dependent, and the prompt wording is clear. An aligned rubric is provided for informational/ explanatory writing that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the targeted foundational skills and grade-level standards. The ability to write an essay that compares two different responses to an event/issue and the analysis of character response to an event/issue are skills that  can be transferred to other subjects/contexts throughout the curriculum.