Learning to spell is one of the key skills your child will be taught during the primary school years.
You can support your child's learning at home by becoming familiar with what the curriculum expects your child to cover in Year 3, including knowing the list of spelling words that will be introduced. Below, we've covered everything you need to know to help your child with spelling through this year and next.
Beginning with this school year and continuing into Year 4, the National Curriculum requires your child to learn how to spell a list of 100 words. So, do not worry if your child isn't spelling them all perfectly by the end of Year 3.
Children are taught to spell using phonics. Phonics can be thought of as 'sounding a word out'. So, for instance, the word 'zoo' is made up of 'zah' (z) and 'oo'. This is how your child will have been taught since the Reception year and as they move up through the years, what is known as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) continues to be used to learn spelling rules. This is handy to know when you're helping your child spell new words at home.
Which Words Do Year 3 Children Need To Learn?
The following is the Year 3 and Year 4 spelling list of words children will be expected to begin to learn to during this school year.
Spelling Rules For Year 3 Children
Alongside these words, your child should also be learning the following spelling rules this year:
To put an apostrophe after the 's' when it's added to make a plural word possessive. For example: boys', girls', babies'. If a word is already plural, the apostrophe comes before the 's'. For example: children's, men's, women's.
Getting to grips with suffixes. These are the letters added to the end of words that expand their meaning. For example: -ly, as in actually; -ing, as in interesting; -er, as in builder; -ed, as in answered, -ation, as in consideration.
To add a double letter before a suffix (as in preferred, forgetting, beginner) to words with more than one syllable.
Some IPA sounds are less straightforward and it's best to let your child learn these as they arise, though they need to be introduced. For instance, when 'y' turns up in the middle of words, as in myth and mystery. Other 'sound' rules to teach are 'ou', which sounds a bit like 'ah', when it's in words such as young and touch.
Prefixes, that is, the letters added to the beginning of words which change their meaning, usually to an opposite. These include un-, as in unhappy; mis-, as in misunderstood; dis-, as in disappear and in-, as in incorrect.
The National Curriculum requires the following rule-breaking letter combination sounds to be taught at this stage, too: when 'ch' sounds like 'k', as in scheme; when 'ch' sounds like 'ch', as in chief; when words end with -que, but sometimes sound like 'k' as in unique and sometimes 'g', as in tongue.
The following spelling rules must also be learned:
That 'sc' together creates the sound for science and scene.
That 'ei', 'eigh' and 'ey' all make the same sound, as in eight, weigh, they.
Word endings that sound similar: -cian, -sion, -ssion, -tion.
Finally, Year 3 children need to start to become familiar with homophones. These are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently, such as great/grate, here/hear, where/wear.
How To Help Your Child's Spelling At Home
At home, always have your child write the Year 3 and 4 spelling words they need to learn. The physical act of writing, rather than typing, helps to reinforce learning spellings. Ask your child to write a story and help them to sound out unfamiliar words. Give them a highlighter pen to highlight any words they're not sure of, then have them look up the word in a dictionary to check.
Word games, like hangman, are useful, as is asking them to make up silly sentences to write down. Tell them they can only use words from the Year 3 and Year 4 spelling list.
Give your child plenty of opportunities to practise, including having them say the spellings out as they write them. Ask them to write your shopping list, a letter to Grandma or keep a diary of what they've done each day.
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