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The curriculum for English in Year 2

In Year 2, children will learn more spelling patterns and rules and will begin to apply those to their writing. They will look at the possessive apostrophe, homophones, and near-homophones and suffixes.

There will be a more detailed focus on handwriting, with children encouraged to form their letters correctly, learn which letters are to be joined, and make letters a consistent size. Children will learn to write for a range of purposes including stories, poetry and real events.

We’ve outlined England’s curriculum for English in Year 2 below. Follow the links for help and activities:

Word reading and comprehension in Year 2

Children will learn to:

  • continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent
  • read accurately by blending the sounds in words that contain the graphemes taught so far, especially recognising alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately words of two or more syllables that contain the same graphemes as above
  • read words containing common suffixes
  • read further common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
  • read most words quickly and accurately, without overt sounding and blending, when they have been frequently encountered
  • read aloud books closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation
  • re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading.
  • develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:
    • listening to, discussing and expressing views about a wide range of contemporary and classic poetry, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
    • discussing the sequence of events in books and how items of information are related
    • becoming increasingly familiar with and retelling a wider range of stories, fairy stories and traditional tales
    • being introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways
    • recognising simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry
    • discussing and clarifying the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known vocabulary
    • discussing their favourite words and phrases
    • continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.
  • understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they listen to by:
    • drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher
    • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading
    • making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done
    • answering and asking questions
    • predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far
    • participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say.

More information and fun activities

Find tips and free activities to support your child’s reading development on our Reading in Year 2 page.

Spelling in Year 2

Children will learn to:

  • Spell by:
    • segmenting spoken words into phonemes and representing these by graphemes, spelling many correctly
    • learning new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learn some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones
    • learning to spell common exception words
    • learning to spell more words with contracted forms
    • learning the possessive apostrophe (singular) [for example, the girl’s book]
    • distinguishing between homophones and near-homophones.
  • add suffixes to spell longer words, including ment,ness,ful, less, –ly
  • apply spelling rules and guidance
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs, common exception words and punctuation taught so far.

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to spelling, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Spelling in Year 2 page.

Handwriting in Year 2

Children will learn to: 

  • form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another
  • start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
  • write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
  • use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to handwriting, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Handwriting in Year 2 page.

Creative writing (composition) in Year 2

Children will learn to: 

  • develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by:
    • writing narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional)
    • writing about real events
    • writing poetry
    • writing for different purposes.
  • consider what they are going to write before beginning by:
    • planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about
    • writing down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary
    • encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
  • make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by:
    • evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils
    • re-reading to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form
    • proof-reading to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation (for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly).
  • read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to creative writing, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Writing in Year 2 page.

Grammar & punctuation in Year 2

Children will learn to:

  • develop their understanding of the concepts detailed in Grammar & punctuation in Year 2 by:
    • learning how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly, including full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks, question marks, commas for lists and apostrophes for contracted forms and the possessive (singular).
  • learn how to use:
    • sentences with different forms: statement, question, exclamation, command
    • expanded noun phrases to describe and specify [for example, the blue butterfly]
    • the present and past tenses correctly and consistently including the progressive form
    • subordination (using when, if, that, or because) and co-ordination (using or, and, or but)
    • the grammar for year 2 detailed in Grammar & punctuation in Year 2
    • some features of written Standard English.
  • use and understand grammatical terminology in discussing their writing.

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to grammar and punctuation, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Grammar & punctuation in Year 2 page.

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