Y6 English

Reading (Red content is additional to that of Year 5)
By the end of Year 6, pupils’ reading and writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in Year 7, across all subjects and not just in English, but there will continue to be a need for pupils to learn subject-specific vocabulary.

The knowledge and skills that pupils need in order to comprehend are very similar at different ages. Pupils should continue to apply what they have already learnt to more complex writing.

The skills of information retrieval that are taught should be applied, for example, in reading history, geography and science textbooks, and in contexts where pupils are genuinely motivated to find out information, for example, reading information leaflets before a gallery or museum visit or reading a theatre programme or review.
Reading – word reading
Statutory requirements
Pupils should be taught to:
  • Apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (morphology and etymology), as listed in English Appendix 1, both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words that they meet.
  • Read further exception words, noting the unusual correspondences between spelling and sound, and where these occur in the word.
Reading – comprehension
Statutory requirements
Pupils should be taught to:
Maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:
  • Continuing to read and discuss an increasingly 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
  • Increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions
  • Recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices
  • Identifying and discussing themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing
  • Making comparisons within and across books.
  • Learning a wider range of poetry by heart.
  • Preparing poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience.
Understand what they read by:
  • Checking that the book makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context.
  • Asking questions to improve their understanding.
  • 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.
  • Summarising the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas.
  • Identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.
  • Discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader.
  • Distinguishing between statements of fact and opinion.
  • Retrieving, recording and presenting information from non-fiction.
  • Participating in discussions about books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, building on their own and others’ ideas and challenging views courteously.
  • Explaining and discussing their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary.
  • Providing reasoned justifications for their views.
We are sometimes asked for pointers towards good children's authors and challenging texts for our children who are really enjoying reading and would like some help choosing books with a good level of challenge in terms of the themes in the stories.
Authors such as Cornelia Funke, Katherine Rundell, JK Rowling, Kiran Milwood Hargrave; Michael Morpurgo are all authors with good reputations for challenging subjects and good models for writing. To be up-to-date with the latest book trends and a to find out about authors making their mark, it is useful to visit the Book Trust website and local bookshop Toppings has excellent recommendations.
Pupils should be able to write down their ideas quickly. Their grammar and punctuation should be broadly accurate. Pupils’ spelling of most words taught so far should be accurate and they should be able to spell words that they have not yet been taught by using what they have learnt about how spelling works in English.

During Years 5 and 6, teachers should continue to emphasise pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading and writing. Pupils’ knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, will support their increasing fluency as readers, their facility as writers, and their comprehension.

As in Years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to enhance the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence.
They should be able to reflect their understanding of the audience for and purpose of their writing, by selecting appropriate vocabulary and grammar.

Teachers should prepare pupils for secondary education by ensuring that they can consciously control sentence structure in their writing and understand why sentences are constructed as they are. Pupils should understand nuances in vocabulary choice and age-appropriate, academic vocabulary. This involves consolidation, practice and discussion of language.

In Years 5 and 6, pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language should be extended through public speaking, performance and debate.
Writing: Transcription
Statutory requirements
Spelling (see English Appendix 1)
Pupils should be taught to:
  • Use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them.
  • Spell some words with ‘silent’ letters [for example, knight, psalm, solemn]
  • Continue to distinguish between homophones and other words which are often confused.
  • Use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically, as listed in English Appendix 1
  • Use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words.
  • Use the first three or four letters of a word to check spelling, meaning or both of these in a dictionary.
  • Use a thesaurus.
As in earlier years, pupils should continue to be taught to understand and apply the concepts of word structure so that they can draw on their knowledge of morphology and etymology to spell correctly.
Writing: Composition
Statutory requirements
Pupils should be taught to:
Plan their writing by:
  • Identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own.
  • Noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary.
  • In writing narratives, considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed.
Draft and write by:
  • Selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.
  • In narratives, describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action.
  • Précising longer passages.
  • Using a wide range of devices to build cohesion within and across paragraphs.
  • Using further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader [for example, headings, bullet points, underlining]
Evaluate and edit by:
  • Assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing
  • Proposing changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning..
  • Ensuring the consistent and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing.
  • Ensuring correct subject and verb agreement when using singular and plural, distinguishing between the language of speech and writing and choosing the appropriate register.
  • Proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors.
  • Perform their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear.
Writing: Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Pupils should continue to add to their knowledge of linguistic terms, including those to describe grammar, so that they can discuss their writing and reading.
Statutory requirements
Pupils should be taught to:
Develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English Appendix 2 by:
  • Recognising vocabulary and structures that are appropriate for formal speech and writing, including subjunctive forms
  • Using passive verbs to affect the presentation of information in a sentence
  • Using the perfect form of verbs to mark relationships of time and cause
  • Using expanded noun phrases to convey complicated information concisely
  • Using modal verbs or adverbs to indicate degrees of possibility
  • Using relative clauses beginning with who, which, where, when, whose, that or with an implied (i.e. omitted) relative pronoun
  • Learning the grammar for Year 6 in English Appendix 2
Indicate grammatical and other features by:
  • Using commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity in writing
  • Using hyphens to avoid ambiguity
  • Using brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis
  • Using semi-colons, colons or dashes to mark boundaries between independent clauses
  • Using a colon to introduce a list
  • Punctuating bullet points consistently
  • Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately in discussing their writing and reading.
Writing: Handwriting
Pupils should continue to practise handwriting and be encouraged to increase the speed of it, so that problems with forming letters do not get in the way of their writing down what they want to say.

Pupils should be clear about what standard of handwriting is appropriate for a particular task, for example, quick notes or a final handwritten version.

Pupils should also be taught to use an unjoined style, for example, for labelling a diagram or data, writing an email address, or for algebra and capital letters, for example, for filling in a form.

Statutory requirements
Handwriting and presentation
Pupils should be taught to:
  • Write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed by:
  • Choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether or not to join specific letters
  • Choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task.