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Year 4 English: what your child learns

Girl reading in the library
Unsure what your child gets up to in English lessons? Get clued up with our guide to the Year 4 English curriculum.

Literacy still brings together the three elements of:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

In literacy this year, the children could be studying one or more of the following topics:

Reading in Year 4 – your child will:

  • apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes to read aloud and understand the meaning of new words they meet
  • read a range of fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction texts
  • re-tell stories orally
  • perform poems and play scripts, showing understanding through intonation and action
  • infer characters' feelings though their actions, justifying their inference with evidence
  • identify main ideas drawn and summarise these

Children should be allowed to choose a book at school to take home with them to read. You may be given an exercise book to write your comments in when you read with them. Children will be reading with their teacher in groups once a week (known as guided reading).

Try this at home:

  • Bedtime stories are still important – choose something which may be a little tricky for your child to read themselves
  • Take an interest in what your child reads and encourage them to explain why they like a certain book or author
  • If you have a reluctant reader, try something which is funny, such as a comic or joke book
  • Be a role model – let them see you reading!

Writing in Year 4 – your child will:

  • understand how to spell words with a variety of prefixes and suffixes
  • use the possessive apostrophe in words with regular plurals
  • use a wider range of connectives (when, before, after, while, so, because)
  • start using inverted commas to punctuate speech
  • use fronted adverbials with commas (for example: Cautiously, she opened the door...)
  • become more confident in joining their handwriting, increasing its legibility and quality
  • create settings, characters and plot in narratives using a range of descriptive language
  • use paragraphs to organise ideas around a theme
  • assess and improve their writing

Try this at home:

  • When you are away, encourage your child to send postcards to their friends, or help them find a penpal
  • Suggest your child keeps a diary, writing a little every day, or tries another fun writing activity

Year 4 English worksheets offer ideas of activities to try at home to help your child consolidate their learning.

Check your Y4 child's progress in English with our free Y4 English Progress checks, three mini-tests for the autumn, spring and summer terms.

Explore the Year 4 English and Maths Learning Journey programmes

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