In upper Key Stage 2, your child will increasingly meet a wider range of texts and types of writing, and will be encouraged to use their skills in a broader range of contexts. Their knowledge of grammar will also increase as they prepare for the National Curriculum Tests to be taken in the summer term of Year 6.
Year 6 children will take a reading test of about one hour, a grammar and punctuation test of about forty-five minutes, and a spelling test of twenty words. These will be sent away for marking, with the results coming back before the end of the year. Your child’s teacher will also make an assessment of whether or not your child has reached the expected standard by the end of the Key Stage.
Speaking and Listening
The Spoken Language objectives are set out for the whole of primary school, and teachers will cover many of them every year as children’s spoken language skills develop. In Years 5 and 6, some focuses may include:
• Speak clearly in a range of contexts, using Standard English where appropriate
• Monitor the reactions of listeners and react accordingly
• Consider different viewpoints, listening to others and responding with relevant views
• Use appropriate language, tone and vocabulary for different purposes
• Read a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays and reference books
• Learn a range of poetry by heart
• Perform plays and poems using tone, volume and intonation to convey meaning
• Use knowledge of spelling patterns and related words to read aloud and understand new words
• Make comparisons between different books, or parts of the same book
• Read a range of modern fiction, classic fiction and books from other cultures and traditions
• Identify and discuss themes and conventions across a wide range of writing
• Discuss understanding of texts, including exploring the meaning of words in context
• Ask questions to improve understanding of texts
• Summarise ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details
• Predict future events from details either written in a text or by ‘reading between the lines’
• Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning
• Discuss how authors use language, including figurative language, to affect the reader
• Make book recommendations, giving reasons for choices
• Participate in discussions about books, building on and challenging ideas
• Explain and discuss understanding of reading
• Participate in formal presentations and debates about reading
• Provide reasoned justifications for views
Figurative language includes metaphorical phrases such as ‘raining cats and dogs’ or ‘an iron fist’, as well as using language to convey meaning, for example by describing the Sun as ‘gazing down’ upon a scene.
Themes & Conventions
As children’s experience of a range of texts broadens, they may begin to notice conventions, such as the use of first person for diary-writing, or themes such as heroism or quests.
• Write with increasing speed, maintaining legibility and style
• Spell some words with silent letters, such as knight and solemn
• Recognise and use spellings for homophones and other often-confused words from the Y5/6 list
• Use a dictionary to check spelling and meaning
• Identify the audience and purpose before writing, and adapt accordingly
• Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary to change or enhance meaning
• Develop setting, atmosphere and character, including through dialogue
• Write a summary of longer passages of writing
• Use a range of cohesive devices
• Use advanced organisational and presentational devices, such as bullet points
• Use the correct tense consistently throughout a piece of writing
• Ensure correct subject and verb agreement
• Perform compositions using appropriate intonation, volume and movement
• Use a thesaurus
• Use expanded noun phrases to convey complicated information concisely
• Use modal verbs or adverbs to indicate degrees of possibility
• Use relative clauses
• Recognise vocabulary and structures that are appropriate for formal use
• Use passive verbs to affect the presentation of information
• Use the perfect form of verbs to mark relationships of time and cause
• Recognise the difference in informal and formal language
• Use grammatical connections and adverbials for cohesion
• Use ellipses, commas, brackets and dashes in writing
• Use hyphens to avoid ambiguity
• Use semi-colons, colons and dashes between independent clauses
• Use a colon to introduce a list
• Punctuate bullet points consistently
Cohesive devices are words or phrases used to link different parts of writing together. These may be pronouns such as ‘he’ or ‘it’ to avoid repeating a name, or phrases such as ‘After that...’ or ‘Meanwhile’ to guide the reader through the text.
For many parents, the grammatical terminology used in schools may not be familiar. Here are some useful reminders of some of the terms used:
• Noun phrase: a group of words which takes the place of a single noun. Example: The big brown dog with the fluffy ears.
• Modal verb: a verb that indicates possibility. These are often used alongside other verbs. Example: will, may, should, can.
• Relative clause: a clause which adds extra information or detail. Example: The boy who was holding the golden ticket won the prize.
• Passive verb: a form of verb that implies an action being done to, rather than by, the subject. Example: The boy was bitten by the dog.
• Perfect form: a form of verb that implies that an action is completed. Example: The boy has walked home.