Primary English – Years 3 & 4 syllabus


Word reading – students should be taught to:

  • Apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology) as listed in – see 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

Comprehension – students should be taught to:

  • Develop positive attitudes to reading, and an understanding of what they read, by:
  • Listen to and discuss a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
  • Read books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
  • Use dictionaries to check the meaning of words that they have read
  • Increase their familiarity with a wide range of books, including fairy stories, myths and legends, and retelling some of these orally
  • Identify themes and conventions in a wide range of books
  • Prepare poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
  • Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination
  • Recognise some different forms of poetry (for example, free verse, narrative poetry)
  • Understand what they read, in books they can read independently
  • Check that the text makes sense to them, discussing their understanding, and explaining the meaning of words in context
  • Ask questions to improve their understanding of a text
  • Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • Predict what might happen from details stated and implied
  • Identify main ideas drawn from more than 1 paragraph and summarising these
  • Identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning
  • Retrieve and record information from non-fiction
  • Participate in discussion about both books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say


  • Use further prefixes and suffixes and understand how to add them – see English appendix 1
  • Spell further homophones
  • Spell words that are often misspelt – see 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 2 or 3 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


  • 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, and that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch)


Composition – students should be taught to:

  • Plan their writing
  • Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar
  • Discuss and record ideas
  • Draft and write
  • Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures English appendix 2
  • Organise paragraphs around a theme
  • In narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
  • In non-narrative material, use simple organisational devices (for example, headings and sub-headings)
  • Evaluate and edit
  • Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements
  • Propose changes to grammar and vocabulary to improve consistency, including the accurate use of pronouns in sentences
  • Proofread for spelling and punctuation errors
  • Read their own writing aloud to a group or the whole class, using appropriate intonation and controlling the tone and volume so that the meaning is clear

Vocabulary, punctuation & grammer – students should be taught to:

  • Develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English appendix 2
  • Extend the range of sentences with more than one clause by using a wider range of conjunctions, including: when, if, because, although
  • Use the present perfect form of verbs in contrast to the past tense
  • Choose nouns or pronouns appropriately for clarity and cohesion and to avoid repetition
  • Use conjunctions, adverbs and prepositions to express time and cause
  • Use fronted adverbials
  • Learn the grammar for years 3 and 4 in (English appendix 2)
  • Indicate grammatical and other features
  • Use commas after fronted adverbials
  • Indicate possession by using the possessive apostrophe with plural nouns
  • Use and punctuate direct speech
  • Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading