Year 4 Spelling Rules

Mum sat at table helping her daughter with her homework.

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The holidays are here, and while that means no more homeschooling, for many parents, it also means holiday homework.

As your child moves up from KS1 into Years 3 and 4, they will move on from learning simple phonetic words to more complex spelling rules, which can sometimes feel a little hard to keep up with. Here are some handy hints to help you get your child spelling like a champ.

What Does The National Curriculum Say About Spelling?

The National Curriculum outlines which spelling rules (and exceptions to the rules) kids should be learning in each year. As well as providing a guide to which spelling rules schools should be teaching when, the curriculum also provides lists of specific words children need to be able to spell by the end of Years 4 and 6.  The words on these spelling lists are statutory, which means schools have got to teach them. Most of them are either frequently used words or ones kids tend to struggle with spelling. However, teachers are also free to add other words they think are appropriate or that children will need to know.

What Words Are Year 4 Spelling Words?

Table of Year 4 spelling words.

During Years 3 and 4, kids will need to learn at least the 100 words on the Year 3 and 4 Spelling List. This is also sometimes called the Year 3 and 4 List of Common Exception Words, and it's made up of 100 common spellings children need to know by the time they go into Year 5. It's down to the individual primary school which of the words are taught in Year 3 and which in Year 4, but most schools will split the words up by the week and send resources like weekly spelling lists home, which kids need to learn for a spelling test. Most teachers will send a full list home at the start of the year as well, but if you child's doesn't (or if your child loses it, because let's be honest, it happens), we've included one above.

What Spelling Rules Do Children Learn In Year 4?

They may look complicated, but the spelling rules taught in Year 4 will make your child's life a lot easier if they can learn them thoroughly. By the end of the year, your child's school will expect them to be able to use these rules to work out how to spell linked words, as well as memorising the words on the spelling list.

We've included these rules for you below, because the more resources you have, the better.

Table of Year 4 spelling rules.

How Can Parents Help Children Learn At Home?

Pot of colouring pencils on top of a pile of books.

Your child's teacher will often provide homework resources for your child to complete at home. Working through these with your child will go a long way to helping them get the hang of the spelling rules. Learning takes time, so ensuring your child is completing any homework set at the start of the year will make sure they're where they should be by the end of it.

Now that your child is in KS2, they will be expected to take more responsibility for their own learning, and will probably be given a list of ten or so spellings to learn each week for a weekly spelling test. If you can make sure they're practising them regularly, your child's teacher will thank you for it.

Reading is another brilliant and often overlooked way to help your child's spelling to improve. As they read, they are also learning without realising they're doing it by seeing their spellings used in context by professional writers.

If you feel like your child could use a bit more practice, there are lots of resources out there, from printable online worksheets to targeted homework books and games they can download on tablets and phones.  Kids who struggle to spell are often either rushing, or not thinking about the sound the word makes. Encourage them to slow down and sound words out aloud to themselves as they write.

If you notice your child continuing to struggle with spellings no matter how much they practice, make sure to mention it to their teacher. There may be specialist resources available in school that can help.


Written By

Jennie Hughes

Jennie is a Manchester native who discovered a love of teaching and travel whilst teaching at a kindergarten in China, and has spent her time since then becoming an expert in both. Jennie mainly teaches KS2 children and still thinks she has the best job in the world. She also runs a tutoring and mindfulness company called ‘Recreate-U’ which helps people to reach their full educational potential through making them feel comfortable, safe, and happy in their learning environment. In her spare time she can be found up to her elbows in a craft project or curled up somewhere comfy with a book and a hot cup of tea.

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