KS2 English SATs: understanding the test
At the end of Year 6 children sit a KS2 English SATs exam, which is made up of three papers:
- a Reading Test
- a Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Test, which is split up into two papers: Paper 1 (grammar and punctuation), and Paper 2 (a spelling test).
Previously, children sat a writing test as part of KS2 SATs, however teachers now assess writing levels by looking at a child's writing throughout the whole year.
To get a good idea of what is expected of your child as part of the exam it's a good idea to download a past paper (TheSchoolRun offers all the official past papers for KS2 English SATs for free download; you can also read our guide to using past papers for at-home practice). If your child is revising for KS2 SATs the following tips and activities will help them prepare.
Reading and KS2 English SATs: tips and advice
Read outside the book
Children need to get used to reading non-fiction texts as well as stories. Try to encourage children to read texts associated with events or interests that are meaningful to them; for example, if they like football, read through a match programme or a newspaper report with them. If you’re planning a holiday this summer, get your child to read up on your destination of choice.
Give them goals
A time limit and a reward can be really motivational, so why not set your child a challenge to read one book a week? At the end of each week, encourage them to tell you about the story and then give them a (small!) reward of their choice. Having said that, make sure you never force them to read something they are not interested in; this is counter-productive, and could put them off reading for good!
Bring back the 'bedtime story' for your eleven year old! Take turns to read out loud with your child, guaranteed to improve their reading and their listening skills, as well as a brilliant way to spend time together. When you are listening to your child encourage them to read with expression and to do different voices for different characters. You can also ask them comprehension questions (they can test you when it's your turn to read out loud!); look at KS2 SATs Reading tests for ideas on kinds of questions to ask.
Writing and KS2 English SATs: tips and advice
Build up the layers in a sentence
Help your child to write more creatively by giving them a practical challenge.
- Start with a boring sentence, such as: The girl had curly hair.
- Ask them to think of a couple of adjectives to describe the curls.
- Could they use a powerful verb and adverb to show how the curls are moving?
- Could they compare the curls to something else, to create a simile?
- A much-improved sentence would be: The girl had shiny, springy curls that bounced wildly like a jack-in-the-box.
Does your child enjoy putting pen to paper? Encourage them to write both fiction and non-fiction texts. It can help to look through stories and non-fiction texts they have read and discuss the way they are structured. Help your child to plan a text and then give them a set time limit (say, 45 minutes) to write their text unaided. It is always best to start from something they are interested in, so encourage them to write a different version of a story they love, or write their own information text on something they have found interesting.
Grammar and punctuation and KS2 English SATs: tips and advice
In the new grammar and punctuation test, children are likely to be tested on the following:
- Use of full stops, capitals, commas, brackets, question marks, exclamation marks, speech marks, apostrophes.
- Understanding what nouns, pronouns, prepositions, contractions, connectives, adjectives, verbs and adverbs are and how to use them.
- Knowing how to add suffixes and prefixes to words.
- In sentences, being able to make subjects and verbs agree, putting verbs in the correct tense, inserting words with the correct plural and recognising a subordinate clause.
- Knowing the difference between direct and indirect speech
The Year 6 English curriculum includes plenty of grammar work to prepare them, but you can also read up about the 'SPAG' test and find grammar practice activities to work through at home on TheSchoolRun. If you are unsure about grammatical vocabulary, look up the terms above in our primary-school literacy glossary to get you up to speed.
Handwriting skills and KS2 English SATs: tips and advice
By Year 6, your child should have got into the habit of good, fluid handwriting, but if this is not the case look through our handwiting advice and practice worksheets. Remind your child that good handwriting means their work it easier to read, but also gives the person marking their writing a better general impression of the writing.
Spelling and KS2 English SATs: tips and advice
The best way to help your child with spelling is to encourage them to write a story or information text for you and then look at the words they are struggling with. Are there any particular types of words they are getting wrong (for example: words ending -ing or words with ie / ei in them)? Encourage them to learn these words and other similar words. Get them to make and decorate their own flashcards, then test them by holding up the card, then putting it face down and asking them to write the word from memory.