National Curriculum KS1 Y1

During year 1, teachers should build on work from the Early Years Foundation Stage, making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt. Teachers should also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words should underpin pupils’ reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the programmes of study for such words.

Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils need to develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This will be supported by practice in reading books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill and their knowledge of common exception words. At the same time they will need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary. Pupils should be helped to read words without overt sounding and blending after a few encounters. Those who are slow to develop this skill should have extra practice.

Pupils’ writing during year 1 will generally develop at a slower pace than their reading. This is because they need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing. Pupils entering year 1 who have not yet met the early learning goals for literacy should continue to follow their school’s curriculum or the Early Years Foundation Stage to develop their word reading, spelling and language skills. However, these pupils should follow the year 1 programme of study in terms of the books they listen to and discuss, so that they develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their knowledge more generally across the curriculum. If they are still struggling to decode and spell, they need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly.

Teachers should ensure that their teaching develops pupils’ oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures, giving particular support to pupils whose oral language skills are insufficiently developed.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Word Reading

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should revise and consolidate the GPCs and the common exception words taught in Reception. As soon as they can read words comprising the year 1 GPCs accurately and speedily, they should move on to the year 2 programme of study for word reading.

The number, order and choice of exception words taught will vary according to the phonics programme being used. Ensuring that pupils are aware of the GPCs they contain, however unusual these are, supports spelling later.

Young readers encounter words that they have not seen before much more frequently than experienced readers do, and they may not know the meaning of some of these. Practice at reading such words by sounding and blending can provide opportunities not only for pupils to develop confidence in their decoding skills, but also for teachers to explain the meaning and thus develop pupils’ vocabulary.

Pupils should be taught how to read words with suffixes by being helped to build on the root words that they can read already. Pupils’ reading and re-reading of books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge and knowledge of common exception words supports their fluency, as well as increasing their confidence in their reading skills. Fluent word reading greatly assists comprehension, especially when pupils come to read longer books.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Reading Comprehension

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should have extensive experience of listening to, sharing and discussing a wide range of high-quality books with the teacher, other adults and each other to engender a love of reading at the same time as they are reading independently.

Pupils’ vocabulary should be developed when they listen to books read aloud and when they discuss what they have heard. Such vocabulary can also feed into their writing. Knowing the meaning of more words increases pupils’ chances of understanding when they read by themselves. The meaning of some new words should be introduced to pupils before they start to read on their own, so that these unknown words do not hold up their comprehension.

However, once pupils have already decoded words successfully, the meaning of those that are new to them can be discussed with them, so contributing to developing their early skills of inference. By listening frequently to stories, poems and non-fiction that they cannot yet read for themselves, pupils begin to understand how written language can be structured in order, for example, to build surprise in narratives or to present facts in non-fiction. Listening to and discussing information books and other non-fiction establishes the foundations for their learning in other subjects. Pupils should be shown some of the processes for finding out information.

Through listening, pupils also start to learn how language sounds and increase their vocabulary and awareness of grammatical structures. In due course, they will be able to draw on such grammar in their own writing.

Rules for effective discussions should be agreed with and demonstrated for pupils. They should help to develop and evaluate them, with the expectation that everyone takes part. Pupils should be helped to consider the opinions of others.

Role-play can help pupils to identify with and explore characters and to try out the language they have listened to.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Spelling

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

The boundary between revision of work covered in Reception and the introduction of new work may vary according to the programme used, but basic revision should include

Statutory requirements Rules and guidance (non-statutory) Example words (non-statutory)
The sounds /f/, /l/, /s/, /z/ and /k/ spelt ff, ll, ss, zz and ck The /f/, /l/, /s/, /z/ sounds are usually spelt as ff, ll, ss, zz and ck if they come straight after a single vowel letter in short words. Exceptions: if, pal, us, bus, yes. off, well, miss, buzz, back
The /ŋ/ sound spelt n before k   bank, think, honk, sunk
Division of words into syllables Each syllable is like a 'beat' in the spoken word. Words of more than one syllable often have an unstressed syllable in which the vowel sound is unclear. pocket, rabbit, carrot, thunder, sunset
-tch The /tʃ/ sound is usually spelt as tch if it comes straight after a single vowel letter. Exceptions: rich, which, much, such. catch, fetch, kitchen, notch, hutch
The /v/ sound at the end of words English words hardly ever end with the letter v, so if a word ends with a /v/ sound, the letter e usually needs to be added after the ‘v’. have, live, give
Adding s and es to words (plural of nouns and the third person singular of verbs) If the ending sounds like /s/ or /z/, it is spelt as –s. If the ending sounds like /ɪz/ and forms an extra syllable or ‘beat’ in the word, it is spelt as –es. cats, dogs, spends, rocks, thanks, catches
Adding the endings –ing, –ed and –er to verbs where no change is needed to the root word –ing and –er always add an extra syllable to the word and –ed sometimes does. The past tense of some verbs may sound as if it ends in /ɪd/ (extra syllable), /d/ or /t/ (no extra syllable), but all these endings are spelt –ed. If the verb ends in two consonant letters (the same or different), the ending is simply added on. hunting, hunted, hunter, buzzing, buzzed, buzzer, jumping, jumped, jumper
Adding –er and –est to adjectives where no change is needed to the root word As with verbs (see above), if the adjective ends in two consonant letters (the same or different), the ending is simply added on. grander, grandest, fresher, freshest, quicker, quickest

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs

Some may already be known, depending on the programmes used in Reception, but some will be new.

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs Rules and guidance (non-statutory) Example words (non-statutory)
ai, oi The digraphs ai and oi are virtually never used at the end of English words. rain, wait, train, paid, afraid, oil, join, coin, point, soil
ay, oy ay and oy are used for those sounds at the end of words and at the end of syllables. day, play, say, way, stay boy, toy, enjoy, annoy
a–e made, came, same, take, safe
e–e   these, theme, complete
i–e   five, ride, like, time, side
o–e   home, those, woke, hope, hole
u–e Both the /u:/ and /ju:/ (‘oo’ and ‘yoo’) sounds can be spelt as u–e. June, rule, rude, use, tube, tune
ar   car, start, park, arm, garden
ee   see, tree, green, meet, week
ea (/i:/)   sea, dream, meat, each, read (present tense)
ea (/ɛ/)   head, bread, meant, instead, read (past tense)
er (/ɜ:/)   (stressed sound): her, term, verb, person
er (/ə/)   (unstressed schwa sound): better, under, summer, winter, sister
ir   girl, bird, shirt, first, third
ur   turn, hurt, church, burst, Thursday
oo (/u:/) Very few words end with the letters oo, although the few that do are often words that primary children in year 1 will encounter, for example, zoo food, pool, moon, zoo, soon
oo (/ʊ/)   book, took, foot, wood, good
oa The digraph oa is very rare at the end of an English word. boat, coat, road, coach, goal
oe   toe, goes
ou The only common English word ending in ou is you. out, about, mouth, around, sound
ow (/aʊ/)
ow (/əʊ/)
ue ew
Both the /u:/ and /ju:/ (‘oo’ and ‘yoo’) sounds can be spelt as u–e, ue and ew. If words end in the /oo/ sound, ue and ew are more common spellings than oo. now, how, brown, down, town own, blow, snow, grow, show, blue, clue, true, rescue, Tuesday, new, few, grew, flew, drew, threw
ie (/aɪ/)   lie, tie, pie, cried, tried, dried
ie (/i:/)   chief, field, thief
igh   high, night, light, bright, right
or   for, short, born, horse, morning
ore   more, score, before, wore, shore
aw   saw, draw, yawn, crawl
au   author, August, dinosaur, astronaut
air   air, fair, pair, hair, chair
ear   dear, hear, beard, near, year
ear (/ɛə/)   bear, pear, wear
are (/ɛə/)   bare, dare, care, share, scared
Words ending –y   very, happy, funny, party, family
New consonant spellings ph and wh The /f/ sound is not usually spelt as ph in short everyday words (e.g. fat, fill, fun). dolphin, alphabet, phonics, elephant, when, where, which, wheel, while
Using k for the /k/ sound The /k/ sound is spelt as k rather than as c before e, i and y. Kent, sketch, kit, skin, frisky
Adding the prefix un- The prefix un- is added to the beginning of a word without any change to the spelling of the root word. unhappy, undo, unload, unfair, unlock
Compound words Compound words are two words joined together. Each part of the longer word is spelt as it would be if it were on its own. football, playground, farmyard, bedroom, blackberry
Common exception words Pupils’ attention should be drawn to the grapheme-phoneme correspondences that do and do not fit in with what has been taught so far. the, a, do, to, today, of, said, says, are, were, was, is, his, has, I, you, your, they, be, he, me, she, we, no, go, so, by, my, here, there, where, love, come, some, one, once, ask, friend, school, put, push, pull, full, house, our – and/or others, according to the programme used

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Reading should be taught alongside spelling, so that pupils understand that they can read back words they have spelt.

Pupils should be shown how to segment spoken words into individual phonemes and then how to represent the phonemes by the appropriate grapheme(s). It is important to recognise that phoneme-grapheme correspondences (which underpin spelling) are more variable than grapheme-phoneme correspondences (which underpin reading). For this reason, pupils need to do much more word-specific rehearsal for spelling than for reading.

At this stage pupils will be spelling some words in a phonically plausible way, even if sometimes incorrectly. Misspellings of words that pupils have been taught to spell should be corrected; other misspelt words should be used to teach pupils about alternative ways of representing those sounds.

Writing simple dictated sentences that include words taught so far gives pupils opportunities to apply and practise their spelling.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Handwriting

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Handwriting requires frequent and discrete, direct teaching. Pupils should be able to form letters correctly and confidently. The size of the writing implement (pencil, pen) should not be too large for a young pupil’s hand. Whatever is being used should allow the pupil to hold it easily and correctly so that bad habits are avoided.

Left-handed pupils should receive specific teaching to meet their needs.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Composition

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

At the beginning of year 1, not all pupils will have the spelling and handwriting skills they need to write down everything that they can compose out loud.

Pupils should understand, through demonstration, the skills and processes essential to writing: that is, thinking aloud as they collect ideas, drafting, and re-reading to check their meaning is clear.

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National Curriculum KS1 Y1: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Detail of content to be introduced
Word Regular plural noun suffixes –s or –es [for example, dog, dogs; wish, wishes], including the effects of these suffixes on the meaning of the noun.
Suffixes that can be added to verbs where no change is needed in the spelling of root words (e.g. helping, helped, helper).
How the prefix un– changes the meaning of verbs and adjectives [negation, for example, unkind, or undoing: untie the boat].
Sentence How words can combine to make sentences.
Joining words and joining clauses using and.
Text Sequencing sentences to form short narratives.
Punctuation Separation of words with spaces.
Introduction to capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to demarcate sentences.
Capital letters for names and for the personal pronoun I.
Terminology for pupils letter, capital letter, word, singular, plural, sentence, punctuation, full stop, question mark, exclamation mark.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should be taught to recognise sentence boundaries in spoken sentences and to use the vocabulary listed in English Appendix 2 (‘Terminology for pupils’) [see the table above on this page] when their writing is discussed.

Pupils should begin to use some of the distinctive features of Standard English in their writing. ‘Standard English’ is defined in the Glossary.

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