Year 5 English: what your child learns

Girl writing in her journal
Whether your child is a bookworm or doesn’t enjoy English at all, knowing what they’re learning in school means you can give them extra support at home. Here’s your guide to what they’re being taught as part of the Year 5 English curriculum.

Literacy is still made up of the three areas of

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

During Year 5, children will be studying one or more of the following topics:

Reading in Year 5 – your child will:

  • continue to read an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction texts
  • read fiction texts both modern and old, and from other cultures and traditions
  • prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation and volume
  • infer characters' feelings from their actions and justifying inferences with evidence
  • discuss how authors use figurative language
  • distinguish between fact and opinion

Children should be allowed to choose a book at school to take home with them to read. You may be given an exercise book in order to write your comments in when you read with them. As part of guided reading, children will read with their teacher in groups once a week.

Try this at home:

  • If you find it hard to find the time to read to your child, make the most of holidays. Choose a special book and read a chapter a night
  • If you have a child who enjoys making things, look for practical ‘how to’ books to inspire them. They may not be traditional story books, but it’s still valuable reading experience
  • Look out for events in your local library or bookshop – there could be a summer reading scheme or a chance to meet an author

Writing in Year 5 – your child will:

  • use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them (find out more about Y5 spelling patterns and rules in our parents' guide)
  • spell some words with silent letters
  • learn the spelling of more difficult homophones (words which sound the same but are spelt differently)
  • use a dictionary and a thesaurus
  • use adverbs and adverbials to explain how something is being done
  • write with neat, legible handwriting; write with increasing speed
  • use brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis
  • use commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity
  • learn to select appropriate grammar and vocabulary
  • describe settings, characters and atmosphere in narratives and integrate dialogue
  • carefully structure texts with a range of organisational devices, including time connectives, paragraphs, headings, bullet points, underlining
  • assess and improve the effectiveness of their writing

Try this at home:

  • When your child writes at home, encourage them to read their work aloud. That way, you can both talk about it, and how it could be improved
  • Make sure there’s somewhere quiet for them to concentrate and create when they’re working at home
  • If you go away during the holidays, suggest they keep a journal

Practise key skills at home with our range of Year 5 English worksheets, which cover grammar, punctuation and writing for purpose.

Check your Y5 child's progress in English with our free Y5 English Progress checks, three mini-tests for the autumn, spring and summer terms.