What will my child learn in years 3, 4 and 5 (key stage two)?
As your child embarks on the key stage two part of their school career, there will be less of a focus on phonics and more emphasis on understanding and learning spelling rules. In maths, your child will begin to use the column method and will learn the rest of their times tables.
In key stage two, children become juniors. With that, comes new freedoms and greater independence. Learners in key stage two are expected to be fluent readers, with a wide sight vocabulary and a range of strategies to decode new words. Maths fluency includes knowing number bonds by heart and getting better and better at times tables. You child will build upon the strong friendships they made in key stage one and make new ones now that they are part of the key stage two class.
Reading will form the foundation of the curriculum, with daily taught reading sessions across key stage two. As fluent, confident readers, the focus in years 3, 4 and 5 will be on comprehension. Reading comprehension includes developing a range of skills including prediction, inference and summarising key points, as well as developing strategies to improve children’s vocabulary. Sometimes comprehension will involve oral rehearsal, with lots of group discussion, although increasingly children will be expected to get longer and longer answers down in writing. In children’s own reading, they will be given targets to develop their speed, accuracy and fluency as well as beginning to read expressively. When they finish their books, they will be encouraged to carry out an accelerated reader quiz, which tests their comprehension and assists teachers in assessment and target-setting for individual pupils.
Across key stage two, your child will continue to work on spelling patterns, with more emphasis on understanding and learning the spelling rules, as well as attention to prefixes and suffixes. There are statutory spelling lists for years 3 and 4, and for years 5 and 6 which we split across the year groups. Children will also focus on words to support their learning in topics such as science and computing to enable them to write accurately across the curriculum.
In written pieces, children will focus on creativity and developing writing styles. The grammar focus will be central to their English teaching, including ensuring they are confident to use commas and apostrophes in their writing. Your child will continue to write a variety of different genres. They will study texts, learn the grammar attached to each and practise using it before applying it to their own writing at the end of each unit.
Children’s handwriting should now be consistent and cursive, with letters all the same size. They should be able to use paragraphs to set out their work and to understand and use different types of sentence.
Maths in year 3 has more of a times tables focus. Quick recall of the required 3, 4 and 8 times-tables (as well as the 2, 5, and 10 times-tables they’ve already learned in Year 2) is important as they form the foundation for a large majority of the work the children will cover within the year.
By the time children leave year 4 they are expected to know all their times tables to 12 x 12, and recall them very quickly. This is tested in multiplication test set by the government, which is administered in the summer term. We use Times Table Rockstars to help children practise this automatic recall.
Year 5 is an important year in the maths curriculum, as your child will be securing all the skills needed to access the SATs at the end of year 6. Children are expected to know and confidently use all the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division methods.
Maths topics in key stage two include area, perimeter, shape, using numbers from 3 digits to 1,000,000 (by year five) and formal methods of multiplication and division.
How can I help my key stage two learner at home?
- Carry on reading. As your child’s reading develops, help them to begin to develop fluency, accuracy and expressive reading. Allow them to hear you reading expressively so that they know what to aim for. Help them to develop strategies to read faster, too, by only sounding out when necessary and using their sight reading skills more and more. To access their learning fully, children in years 3-6 need to be reading at a speed of 110-150 words per minute. You can also ask more complex comprehension questions to help your child to more deeply understand what they are reading. For example:
- What do you think the writer means by….?
- How does the writer build suspense in this paragraph?
- What did the word ambled tell you about how the character is walking? How might he be feeling?
- Why is the character feeling ‘as light as a feather’? What do you think she means?
- Focus on number. At school, we subscribe to Time Table Rock Stars from year two and above. These help children to develop more automaticity with number facts. Focusing on times tables through pictorial representation and quick-fire recall is the best way to reinforce the maths your child is learning at school.