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The curriculum for English in Year 3

Years 3 and 4 (lower Key Stage 2) share the same curriculum targets.

By the beginning of Year 3, your child should be able to independently read a range of books. They should be able to read them accurately and quickly enough to be able to focus on what they are reading instead of on each word. They should be able to understand words outside their normal everyday vocabulary.

Their teacher should be aiming for them to 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.  

Your child will also continue to develop across the different strands of writing: imagination and ideas, audience and purpose, handwriting or typing, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

We’ve outlined England’s curriculum for English in Year 3 below. Follow the links for help and activities:

Word reading in Year 3

Children will learn to:

  • apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology) as listed in English Appendix 1, both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words they meet
  • read further exception words, noting the unusual correspondences between spelling and sound, and where these occur in the word.

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to reading, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Reading in Year 3 page.

Comprehension in Year 3

Children will learn to:

  • develop positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:
  • listening to and discussing a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
  • reading books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
  • using dictionaries to check the meaning of words that they have read
  • increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including fairy stories, myths and legends, and retelling some of these orally
  • identifying themes and conventions in a wide range of books
  • preparing poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
  • discussing words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination
  • recognising some different forms of poetry (for example, free verse, narrative poetry)
  • understand what they read, in books they can read independently, by:
  • checking that the text makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and explaining the meaning of words in context
  • asking questions to improve their understanding of a text
  • drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • predicting what might happen from details stated and implied
  • identifying main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarising these 
  • identifying how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning
  • retrieve and record information from non-fiction

More information and fun activities

You’ll find a more detailed guide to comprehension, advice on how to help your child at home, and free activities on our Comprehension in Year 3 page.

Spelling in Year 3

Children will learn to:

  • use further prefixes and suffixes and understand how to add them (English Appendix 1)
  • spell further homophones
  • spell words that are often misspelt (English Appendix 1)
  • place the possessive apostrophe accurately in words with regular plurals (for example, girls’, boys’) and in words with irregular plurals (for example, children’s)
  • use the first two or three letters of a word to check its spelling in a dictionary
  • write from memory simple sentences, dictated by the teacher, that include 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 3 page.

Handwriting in Year 3

Children will learn to: 

  • use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
  • increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting (for example, by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch).

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 3 page.

Creative writing (composition) in Year 3

Children will learn to: 

  • plan their writing by:
    • discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar
    • discussing and recording ideas.
  • draft and write by:
    • composing and rehearsing sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures (English Appendix 2)
    • organising paragraphs around a theme
    • in narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
    • in non-narrative material, using simple organisational devices (for example, headings and sub-headings).
  • evaluate and edit by:
    • assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements
    • proposing changes to grammar and vocabulary to improve consistency, including the accurate use of pronouns in sentences.
  • proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors
  • read aloud their own writing, to a group or the whole class, using appropriate intonation and controlling the tone and volume so that the meaning is 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 3 page.

Vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation in Year 3

Children will learn to:

  • develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English Appendix 2 by:
    • extending the range of sentences with more than one clause by using a wider range of conjunctions, including when, if, because, although
    • using the present perfect form of verbs in contrast to the past tense
    • choosing nouns or pronouns appropriately for clarity and cohesion and to avoid repetition
    • using conjunctions, adverbs and prepositions to express time and cause
    • using fronted adverbials
    • learning the grammar for years 3 and 4 in English Appendix 2.
  • indicate grammatical and other features by:
    • using commas after fronted adverbials
    • indicating possession by using the possessive apostrophe with plural nouns
    • using and punctuating direct speech.
  • use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading.

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 3 page.

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