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Statutory Requirements - Year 3

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Lower Key Stage 2 - years 3 and 4

By the beginning of year 3, pupils should be able to read books written at an age-appropriate interest level.  They should be able to read them accurately and at speed that is sufficient for them to focus on understanding what they read rather than on decoding individual words.  They should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary, making a good approximation to the word's pronunciation.  As their decoding skills become increasingly secure, teaching should be directed more towards developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading, making sure that they 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.  They should also be developing their knowledge and skills in reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects.  They should be learning to justify their views about what they have read: with support at the start of year 3 and increasingly independently by the end of year 4.


Pupils should be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation.  Teachers should therefore be consolidating pupils' writing  skills, their vocabulary, their grasp of sentence structure and their knowledge of linguistic terminology.  Teaching them to develop as writers involves teaching them to enhance the effectiveness of what they write as well as increasing their competence.  Teachers should make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas.  Pupils should be beginning to understand how writing can be different from speech.  Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they say.


Pupils' spelling of common words should be correct, including common exception words and other words that they have learnt (see Appendix 1).  Pupils should spell words as accurately as possible using their phonetic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology.


Most pupils will not need further direct teaching of word reading skills; they are able to decode unfamiliar words accurately, and need very few repeated experiences of this before the word is stored in such a way that they can read it without overt sound-blending.  They should demonstrate understanding of figurative language, distinguish shades of meaning among related words and use age-appropriate, academic vocabulary.


As in key stage 1, however, pupils who are still struggling to decode need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers.  If they cannot decode independently and fluently, they will find it increasingly difficult to understand what they read and to write down what they want to say.  As far as possible, however, these pupils should follow the year 3 and 4 programme of study in terms of listening to new books, hearing new vocabulary and grammatical structures, and discussing these.


Specific requirements for pupils to discuss what they are learning and to develop wider skills in spoken language form part of this programme of study.  In years 3 and 4, pupils should become more familiar with and confident in using language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations and debate.


Reading - word reading

  • apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology) as listed in Appendix 1, both to read 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

Reading - comprehension

  • 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 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 (year 3), myths and legends (year 4), 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 (eg. 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 the main ideas drawn from more than one 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

Writing - transcription

  • use further prefixes and suffixes and understand how to add them (Appendix 1)
  • spell further homophones
  • spell words that are often misspelt (Appendix 1)
  • place the possessive apostrophe accurately in words with regular plurals (eg. girls', boys') and in words with irregular plurals (eg. 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


  • 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

Writing - composition

  • Plan 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 (Appendix 2)
  • organising paragraphs around a theme
  • in narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
  • in non-narrative material, using simple organisational devices (eg. 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 meaning is clear

Writing - vocabulary

  • Develop their understanding of the concepts set out in 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 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 Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading