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English: Age 5–6 (Year 1)


In their English lessons in Year 1, your child will learn the spelling, grammar and punctuation rules they need to write clearly. They will start to write their own simple stories and non-fiction texts and learn how to hold a pencil. They will be introduced to a wide range of texts that will develop their vocabulary.

How to help at home

There are lots of simple things you can do at home to support your child’s English skills:

1. Practising phonics with your child as much as possible – all your child’s English skills are underpinned by their reading skills. Make sure you pronounce the sounds correctly.

2. Read to your child as often as you can, or listen to books read aloud. This will increase their vocabulary and comprehension skills, particularly if you talk about the book. Get your child to follow a story you are reading with their eyes – this will help them to absorb grammar, punctuation and spelling rules without realising it.

Take a look at our free eBook library.

3. Practise spellings. Play games with your child to help them learn their weekly spelling words. You could play hangman, make up silly sentences for your child to write, ‘hide’ the spelling words in a string of letters, play pairs using two word cards for each word, or make a set of bingo cards for the words.

See our Twelve tips for weekly spellings page for more ideas.

4. Create writing opportunities, such as writing notes or lists. Tell stories together and draw some of them with captions. Make mini-books with pictures and labels on a topic (for example superheroes) that your child loves. Support your child to tell simple stories out loud.

For more ideas on writing stories, look at our Creative writing page.

5. Use interesting vocabulary when talking to your child. Try to use precise nouns and descriptive adjectives.

6. Encourage your child to talk as much as possible. Gently correct their grammar as they talk.

7. Make time for handwriting practise – create lots of opportunity to get those good habits in place – including forming letters and holding the pencil.


What your child will learn

Follow the links below to find out more about how English is taught in Year 1:

Grammar & punctuation in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, your child will learn to:
Practise activities:
Grammar books for age 5-6:

Spelling in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, your child will learn:
Books to develop spelling skills:
Spelling practise activities:

Writing in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, your child will learn:
    • to write simple sentences
    • to say a sentence out loud before writing it down
    • to put sentences into the right order to tell a short story
    • to re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense
    • to talk about their writing with their teacher or classmates
    • to read their writing out loud to their teacher or the class.

More information and writing activity ideas for Year 1

Handwriting in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, your child will learn to:
    • sit correctly and use the right pencil grip
    • form lowercase letters in the correct way: starting in the right place, moving the pencil in the correct direction and finishing in the right place
    • form capital letters in the correct way
    • forming the digits 0–9
    • understand which letters are formed in similar ways
    • leave a space between words.


Handwriting practise activities:
Handwriting acitivity books:

For more information on skills taught throughout Primary School, check out our phonics and vocabulary pages.