National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4

By the beginning of year 3, pupils should be able to read books written at an age-appropriate interest level. They should be able to read them accurately and at a speed that is sufficient for them to focus on understanding what they read rather than on decoding individual words. They should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary, making a good approximation to the word’s pronunciation. As their decoding skills become increasingly secure, teaching should be directed more towards developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading, making sure that they become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers who read widely and frequently. They should be developing their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry, plays and non-fiction, and learning to read silently. They should also be developing their knowledge and skills in reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects. They should be learning to justify their views about what they have read: with support at the start of year 3 and increasingly independently by the end of year 4. Pupils should be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation. Teachers should therefore be consolidating pupils’ writing skills, their vocabulary, their grasp of sentence structure and their knowledge of linguistic terminology. Teaching them to develop as writers involves teaching them to enhance the effectiveness of what they write as well as increasing their competence. Teachers should make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas. Pupils should be beginning to understand how writing can be different from speech. Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.

Pupils’ spelling of common words should be correct, including common exception words and other words that they have learnt. Pupils should spell words as accurately as possible using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology.

Most pupils will not need further direct teaching of word reading skills: they are able to decode unfamiliar words accurately, and need very few repeated experiences of this before the word is stored in such a way that they can read it without overt sound-blending. They should demonstrate understanding of figurative language, distinguish shades of meaning among related words and use age-appropriate, academic vocabulary.

As in key stage 1, however, pupils who are still struggling to decode need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers. If they cannot decode independently and fluently, they will find it increasingly difficult to understand what they read and to write down what they want to say. As far as possible, however, these pupils should follow the year 3 and 4 programme of study in terms of listening to new books, hearing and learning new vocabulary and grammatical structures, and discussing these.

Specific requirements for pupils to discuss what they are learning and to develop their wider skills in spoken language form part of this programme of study. In years 3 and 4, pupils should become more familiar with and confident in using language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations and debate.

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Word Reading

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

At this stage, teaching comprehension should be taking precedence over teaching word reading directly. Any focus on word reading should support the development of vocabulary.

When pupils are taught to read longer words, they should be supported to test out different pronunciations. They will attempt to match what they decode to words they may have already heard but may not have seen in print [for example, in reading ‘technical’, the pronunciation /tɛtʃnɪkəl/ (‘tetchnical’) might not sound familiar, but /tɛknɪkəl/ (‘teknical’) should].

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Reading Comprehension

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

The focus should continue to be on pupils’ comprehension as a primary element in reading. The knowledge and skills that pupils need in order to comprehend are very similar at different ages. This is why the programmes of study for comprehension in years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are similar: the complexity of the writing increases the level of challenge.

Pupils should be taught to recognise themes in what they read, such as the triumph of good over evil or the use of magical devices in fairy stories and folk tales.

They should also learn the conventions of different types of writing (for example, the greeting in letters, a diary written in the first person or the use of presentational devices such as numbering and headings in instructions).

Pupils should be taught to use the skills they have learnt earlier and continue to apply these skills to read for different reasons, including for pleasure, or to find out information and the meaning of new words.

Pupils should continue to have opportunities to listen frequently to stories, poems, non-fiction and other writing, including whole books and not just extracts, so that they build on what was taught previously. In this way, they also meet books and authors that they might not choose themselves. Pupils should also have opportunities to exercise choice in selecting books and be taught how to do so, with teachers making use of any library services and expertise to support this.

Reading, re-reading, and rehearsing poems and plays for presentation and performance give pupils opportunities to discuss language, including vocabulary, extending their interest in the meaning and origin of words. Pupils should be encouraged to use drama approaches to understand how to perform plays and poems to support their understanding of the meaning. These activities also provide them with an incentive to find out what expression is required, so feeding into comprehension.

In using non-fiction, pupils should know what information they need to look for before they begin and be clear about the task. They should be shown how to use contents pages and indexes to locate information.

Pupils should have guidance about the kinds of explanations and questions that are expected from them. They should help to develop, agree on, and evaluate rules for effective discussion. The expectation should be that all pupils take part.

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Spelling

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Revision of work from years 1 and 2

Pay special attention to the rules for adding suffixes.

New work for years 3 and 4

Statutory requirements Rules and guidance (non-statutory) Example words (non-statutory)
Adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters to words of more than one syllable If the last syllable of a word is stressed and ends with one consonant letter which has just one vowel letter before it, the final consonant letter is doubled before any ending beginning with a vowel letter is added. The consonant letter is not doubled if the syllable is unstressed. forgetting, forgotten, beginning, beginner, prefer, preferred, gardening, gardener, limiting, limited, limitation
The /ɪ/ sound spelt y elsewhere than at the end of words These words should be learnt as needed. myth, gym, Egypt, pyramid, mystery
The /ʌ/ sound spelt ou These words should be learnt as needed. young, touch, double, trouble, country
More prefixes Most prefixes are added to the beginning of root words without any changes in spelling, but see in– below.
Like un–, the prefixes dis– and mis– have negative meanings.
dis–: disappoint, disagree, disobey
mis–: misbehave, mislead, misspell (mis + spell)
The prefix in– can mean both ‘not’ and ‘in’/‘into’. In the words given here it means ‘not’. in–: inactive, incorrect
Before a root word starting with l, in– becomes il. illegal, illegible
Before a root word starting with m or p, in– becomes im–. immature, immortal, impossible, impatient, imperfect
Before a root word starting with r, in– becomes ir–. irregular, irrelevant, irresponsible
re– means ‘again’ or ‘back’. re–: redo, refresh, return, reappear, redecorate
sub– means ‘under’. sub–: subdivide, subheading, submarine, submerge
inter– means ‘between’ or ‘among’. inter–: interact, intercity, international, interrelated (inter + related)
super– means ‘above’. super–: supermarket, superman, superstar
anti– means ‘against’. anti–: antiseptic, anti-clockwise, antisocial
auto– means ‘self’ or ‘own’. auto–: autobiography, autograph
The suffix –ation The suffix –ation is added to verbs to form nouns. The rules already learnt still apply. information, adoration, sensation, preparation, admiration
The suffix –ly The suffix –ly is added to an adjective to form an adverb. The rules already learnt still apply.
The suffix –ly starts with a consonant letter, so it is added straight on to most root words.
sadly, completely, usually (usual + ly), finally (final + ly), comically (comical + ly)
Exceptions:
(1) If the root word ends in –y with a consonant letter before it, the y is changed to i, but only if the root word has more than one syllable.
happily, angrily
(2) If the root word ends with –le, the –le is changed to –ly. gently, simply, humbly, nobly
(3) If the root word ends with –ic, –ally is added rather than just –ly, except in the word publicly. basically, frantically, dramatically
(4) The words truly, duly, wholly.
Words with endings sounding like /ʒə/ or /tʃə/ The ending sounding like /ʒə/ is always spelt –sure. measure, treasure, pleasure, enclosure
The ending sounding like /tʃə/ is often spelt –ture, but check that the word is not a root word ending in (t)ch with an er ending – e.g. teacher, catcher, richer, stretcher. creature, furniture, picture, nature, adventure
Endings which sound like /ʒən/ If the ending sounds like /ʒən/, it is spelt as –sion. division, invasion, confusion, decision, collision, television
The suffix –ous Sometimes the root word is obvious and the usual rules apply for adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters. poisonous, dangerous, mountainous, famous, various
Sometimes there is no obvious root word. tremendous, enormous, jealous
–our is changed to –or before –ous is added. humorous, glamorous, vigorous
A final ‘e’ of the root word must be kept if the /dʒ/ sound of ‘g’ is to be kept. courageous, outrageous
If there is an /i:/ sound before the –ous ending, it is usually spelt as i, but a few words have e. serious, obvious, curious, hideous, spontaneous, courteous
Endings which sound like /ʃən/, spelt –tion, –sion, –ssion, –cian Strictly speaking, the suffixes are –ion and –ian. Clues about whether to put t, s, ss or c before these suffixes often come from the last letter or letters of the root word.
–tion is the most common spelling. It is used if the root word ends in t or te. invention, injection, action, hesitation, completion
–ssion is used if the root word ends in ss or –mit. expression, discussion, confession, permission, admission
–sion is used if the root word ends in d or se. Exceptions: attend – attention, intend – intention. expansion, extension, comprehension, tension
–cian is used if the root word ends in c or cs. musician, electrician, magician, politician, mathematician
Words with the /k/ sound spelt ch (Greek in origin) scheme, chorus, chemist, echo, character
Words with the /ʃ/ sound spelt ch (mostly French in origin) chef, chalet, machine, brochure
Words ending with the /g/ sound spelt –gue and the /k/ sound spelt –que (French in origin) league, tongue, antique, unique
Words with the /s/ sound spelt sc (Latin in origin) In the Latin words from which these words come, the Romans probably pronounced the c and the k as two sounds rather than one – /s/ /k/. science, scene, discipline, fascinate, crescent
Words with the /eɪ/ sound spelt ei, eigh, or ey vein, weigh, eight, neighbour, they, obey
Possessive apostrophe with plural words The apostrophe is placed after the plural form of the word; –s is not added if the plural already ends in –s, but is added if the plural does not end in –s (i.e. is an irregular plural – e.g. children’s). girls’, boys’, babies’, children’s, men’s, mice’s
(Note: singular proper nouns ending in an s use the ’s suffix e.g. Cyprus’s population)
Homophones and near-homophones accept/except, affect/effect, ball/bawl, berry/bury, brake/break, fair/fare, grate/great, groan/grown, here/hear, heel/heal/he’ll, knot/not, mail/male, main/mane, meat/meet, medal/meddle, missed/mist, peace/piece, plain/plane, rain/rein/reign, scene/seen, weather/whether, whose/who’s

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should learn to spell new words correctly and have plenty of practice in spelling them.

As in years 1 and 2, pupils should continue to be supported in understanding and applying the concepts of word structure (see English Appendix 2).

Pupils need sufficient knowledge of spelling in order to use dictionaries efficiently.

Word list – years 3 and 4

  • accident(ally)
  • actual(ly)
  • address
  • answer
  • appear
  • arrive
  • believe
  • bicycle
  • breath
  • breathe
  • build
  • busy/business
  • calendar
  • caught
  • centre
  • century
  • certain
  • circle
  • complete
  • consider
  • continue
  • decide
  • describe
  • different
  • difficult
  • disappear
  • early
  • earth
  • eight/eighth
  • enough
  • exercise
  • experience
  • experiment
  • extreme
  • famous
  • favourite
  • February
  • forward(s)
  • fruit
  • grammar
  • group
  • guard
  • guide
  • heard
  • heart
  • height
  • history
  • imagine
  • increase
  • important
  • interest
  • island
  • knowledge
  • learn
  • length
  • library
  • material
  • medicine
  • mention
  • minute
  • natural
  • naughty
  • notice
  • occasion(ally)
  • often
  • opposite
  • ordinary
  • particular
  • peculiar
  • perhaps
  • popular
  • position
  • possess(ion)
  • possible
  • potatoes
  • pressure
  • probably
  • promise
  • purpose
  • quarter
  • question
  • recent
  • regular
  • reign
  • remember
  • sentence
  • separate
  • special
  • straight
  • strange
  • strength
  • suppose
  • surprise
  • therefore
  • though/although
  • thought
  • through
  • various
  • weight
  • woman/women

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Teachers should continue to emphasise to pupils the relationships between sounds and letters, even when the relationships are unusual. Once root words are learnt in this way, longer words can be spelt correctly, if the rules and guidance for adding prefixes and suffixes are also known.

Examples:

business: once busy is learnt, with due attention to the unusual spelling of the /i/ sound as ‘u’, business can then be spelt as busy + ness, with the y of busy changed to i according to the rule.

disappear: the root word appear contains sounds which can be spelt in more than one way so it needs to be learnt, but the prefix dis– is then simply added to appear.

Understanding the relationships between words can also help with spelling. Examples:

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Handwriting

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should be using joined handwriting throughout their independent writing. Handwriting should continue to be taught, with the aim of increasing the fluency with which pupils are able to write down what they want to say. This, in turn, will support their composition and spelling.

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Composition

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should continue to have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences as part of their work across the curriculum. These purposes and audiences should underpin the decisions about the form the writing should take, such as a narrative, an explanation or a description.

Pupils should understand, through being shown these, the skills and processes that are essential for writing: that is, thinking aloud to explore and collect ideas, drafting, and re-reading to check their meaning is clear, including doing so as the writing develops. Pupils should be taught to monitor whether their own writing makes sense in the same way that they monitor their reading, checking at different levels.

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National Curriculum KS2 Y3 & Y4: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

Y3: Detail of content to be introduced
Word Formation of nouns using a range of prefixes [for example super–, anti–, auto–].
Use of the forms a or an according to whether the next word begins with a consonant or a vowel [for example, a rock, an open box].
Word families based on common words, showing how words are related in form and meaning [for example, solve, solution, solver, dissolve, insoluble].
Sentence Expressing time, place and cause using conjunctions [for example, when, before, after, while, so, because], adverbs [for example, then, next, soon, therefore], or prepositions [for example, before, after, during, in, because of].
Text Introduction to paragraphs as a way to group related material.
Headings and sub-headings to aid presentation.
Use of the present perfect form of verbs instead of the simple past [for example, He has gone out to play contrasted with He went out to play].
Punctuation Introduction to inverted commas to punctuate direct speech.
Terminology for pupils preposition, conjunction, word family, prefix, clause, subordinate clause, direct speech, consonant, consonant letter, vowel, vowel letter, inverted commas (or ‘speech marks’).

 

Y4: Detail of content to be introduced
Word The grammatical difference between plural and possessive –s.
Standard English forms for verb inflections instead of local spoken forms [for example, we were instead of we was, or I did instead of I done].
Sentence Noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases (e.g. the teacher expanded to: the strict maths teacher with curly hair).
Fronted adverbials [for example, Later that day, I heard the bad news.]
Text Use of paragraphs to organise ideas around a theme.
Appropriate choice of pronoun or noun within and across sentences to aid cohesion and avoid repetition.
Punctuation Use of inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech [for example, a comma after the reporting clause; end punctuation within inverted commas: The conductor shouted, “Sit down!”].
Apostrophes to mark plural possession [for example, the girl’s name, the girls’ names].
Use of commas after fronted adverbials.
Terminology for pupils determiner, pronoun, possessive pronoun, adverbial.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Grammar should be taught explicitly: pupils should be taught the terminology and concepts set out in English Appendix 2 [see the table above on this page], and be able to apply them correctly to examples of real language, such as their own writing or books that they have read.

At this stage, pupils should start to learn about some of the differences between Standard English and non-Standard English and begin to apply what they have learnt [for example, in writing dialogue for characters].

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