What English Is Taught in Year Two?

Written by Dan

In Year 2 of primary education, the curriculum builds on the foundations laid down in Year 1, taking pupils through a journey of developing literacy skills.

Teachers focus on enhancing pupils’ abilities in reading and writing, ensuring that by the end of the year, they have a solid grasp of the basic concepts of the English language.

The national curriculum for England sets out the standards expected, detailing the specific learning outcomes for 6-7-year-old pupils in areas such as reading comprehension, writing transcription, and spoken language.

Related: For more, check out our article on  What English Is Taught In Year One?

What English Is Taught in Year Two?

The transition from decoding words to developing fluency and comprehension is a critical leap in Year 2, as pupils encounter a diverse range of texts.

They are encouraged to engage with stories, poems, and non-fiction, broadening their understanding and enjoyment of literature. Writing tasks promote creativity and the accurate use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

There is also a strong emphasis on building oracy skills, enabling children to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions effectively.

This holistic approach not only cements their literacy knowledge but also connects with interdisciplinary learning, fostering a rich educational experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Year 2 English fosters literacy progression, preparing pupils with the foundational skills for future learning.
  • The focus is on deepening reading comprehension, writing fluency, and effective oral communication.
  • Alignment with the national curriculum ensures standardised literacy benchmarks are met across primary education.

Related: For more, check out our article on  What English Is Taught In Reception?

Developing Literacy Skills

In Year 2, literacy development focuses on building a solid foundation in reading and writing. Pupils enhance their ability to decode words, expand their vocabulary, and gain a stronger grasp of English grammar and punctuation.

Phonics and Spelling

Year 2 students strengthen their phonics knowledge by delving into more complex spelling patterns and rules. They practise recognising common exception words—words that do not follow standard phonetic rules—and learn to read them by sight.

Lessons also include common suffixes, helping students understand how they alter the meaning and function of a base word. Teachers emphasise accurate spelling of words with suffixes such as -ful, -ness, -ment, and -ly.

Vocabulary Expansion

Vocabulary acquisition is crucial at this stage. Pupils are introduced to new words daily, thereby expanding their language repertoire. They engage with a variety of texts that introduce them to words associated with different subjects and themes.

Students are encouraged to use new vocabulary in context, which supports their reading comprehension and writing skills.

Grammar and Punctuation

The fundamentals of grammar and punctuation are key components of Year 2 literacy. Students learn about different word classes, including nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and determiners.

They practice using capital letters to start sentences, names, and for the personal pronoun ‘I’, and they become familiar with the appropriate use of full stops, question marks, and exclamation marks to demarcate sentences.

Addressing conjunctions, they explore how words like ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘because’ can link ideas or extend sentences. This foundational understanding is instrumental in skillfully crafting written language.

Related: For more, check out our article on  The 12 Tenses In English

Reading and Comprehension

A classroom with colorful posters and books, a teacher pointing to a whiteboard with English words, students listening and raising their hands to answer

In Year 2, children build upon their reading skills by engaging with a variety of texts, ranging from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and traditional stories.

They develop comprehension techniques that allow them to extract meaning and make inferences from what they have read.

Fiction and Non-fiction

Year 2 pupils experience an array of fiction and non-fiction texts to broaden their literacy skills. For fiction, they explore traditional tales, fairy stories, and contemporary works, delving into the narrative and characters.

Alternately, non-fiction texts provide factual information which encourages children to ask and answer questions about the material.

  • Fiction reading includes:
    • Traditional tales
    • Fairy stories
    • Modern narratives
  • Non-fiction reading covers:
    • Information texts
    • Educational leaflets
    • Instruction manuals

Poetry and Stories

Within their literary journey, Year 2 students are introduced to both poetry and stories that span across contemporary and classic works.

The rhythm and rhyme of poetry, along with its often symbolic and metaphorical language, offer a different reading experience. They are encouraged to read with pleasure, enjoying a variety of genres to build a love for reading.

  • Poetry encompasses:
    • Classic poems
    • Contemporary poems
  • Stories engage students with:
    • A multitude of genres
    • A range of cultural contexts

Comprehension Techniques

Effective comprehension techniques are critical in Year 2, enabling children to understand text and draw inferences.

They learn to discuss events, predict outcomes, and engage with literary language. Reading comprehension activities might include sequencing events, identifying themes, and discussing character actions and motivations.

  • Key comprehension skills include:
    • Making predictions
    • Drawing inferences
    • Answering questions about the text
    • Sequencing events

Related: For more, check out our article on  How To Write A Dynamic English Plan?

Writing and Transcription

A classroom with young students engaged in English language activities, such as reading, writing, and transcription exercises. Educational materials and resources are visible in the background

In Year Two, English education focuses heavily on developing foundational writing and transcription skills.

These competencies are vital as they enable students to transcribe their ideas into written form with increasing accuracy and imagination.

Handwriting Practice

Handwriting practice in Year Two is designed to help students develop legible and fluent writing. Cursive handwriting is introduced and integrated with opportunities to practise forming letters correctly.

Consistent practice is emphasised, aiming for pupils to write lower-case and capital letters as well as digits correctly sized relative to one another.

Composition Skills

Composition development at this stage involves fostering the students’ ability to articulate personal experiences and responses creatively. They learn to compose sentences by sequencing their ideas and structuring them into short narratives.

Planning their writing becomes crucial, and they are encouraged to use past and present tenses correctly. Teaching also covers the use of capital letters, full stops, question marks, and exclamation marks to demarcate sentences in their compositions.

Writing Activities

To support the development of composition skills taught in Year Two, various writing activities are undertaken. These include composing short narratives based on personal experiences or texts they have read. They learn new vocabulary and the application of spelling rules, along with the appropriate use of prefixes and suffixes.

Instruction on expanded noun phrases adds detail and interest to writing. Furthermore, children develop understanding and usage of different sentence types: statements, questions, commands, and exclamations.

Oracy and Text Engagement

Children eagerly participate in group discussions, reading aloud, and writing activities. Engaging with various texts and practicing oracy skills in Year Two English lessons

In Year Two, a heightened focus on oracy skills is crucial for children’s development in speaking, listening and engaging with texts.

These skills are fundamental in supporting their literacy and overall academic progress.

Speaking and Listening

Students in Year Two engage in a variety of speaking and listening activities. They are encouraged to articulate their thoughts clearly and listen respectfully to others.

Listening attentively aids them in comprehending instructions and narratives, while speaking activities allow them to practise favourite words and phrases. Together, these aspects form the foundation of effective communication.

Drama and Performance

Drama activities and performance opportunities allow children to explore literature and texts in an immersive way. They act out stories, taking on different roles and using expressive language.

This not only enhances their understanding of the text but also builds confidence in using Standard English.

Discussion and Debate

Engaging in discussion and debate is a key component of oracy in Year Two. It provides a platform for students to express their opinions, learn the art of argument, and practise revision of their ideas based on group feedback.

The ability to articulate well-formed arguments and engage in discussion about various topics helps them to navigate diverse viewpoints and understand the importance of reasoned debate.

Interdisciplinary Connections

A classroom with books, a whiteboard, and students engaged in language activities

In the second year of primary education, English lessons become an exciting crossroad of subjects.

The year 2 English curriculum is designed to weave in strands of maths, science, geography, history, and religious education with the core literacy skills.

Incorporating Other Subjects

Maths and English converge in year 2 as students use English worksheets to describe patterns, shapes, and sequence events. Teachers craft lesson plans that build literacy skills while also introducing fundamental mathematical concepts.

For example, story problems in maths provide an opportunity to practise reading comprehension and numerical operations simultaneously.

Creative Arts and English

Art and music join forces with English through the exploration of fairy stories and knight tales. Pupils engage with these narratives, learning to describe characters and settings vividly.

Family themes prevalent in art and music enrich the children’s understanding of relationships and context in a story, fostering a comprehensive literacy experience.

Science and Humanities in English

Plants and animals become subjects of interest in various English activities, with pupils crafting descriptions and stories that reinforce their knowledge gained from science lessons.

They might write about the life cycle of a plant or the habitats of different animals, combining scientific understanding with their expanding vocabulary.

Similarly, the histories of different cultures are folded into the English curriculum with children reading about significant historical events or landmark geographical features, contributing to a well-rounded education.

Frequently Asked Questions

A classroom with young students sitting at desks, surrounded by colorful posters and educational materials. A teacher stands at the front, pointing to a chart of English language rules

Year 2 English curriculum is designed to build on the foundations laid in the first year of primary education, focusing on developing key literacy skills across various components including grammar, comprehension, and writing.

What components of the English curriculum are covered in the second year of primary education?

In Year 2, pupils are taught components such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, composition, and comprehension. The curriculum also includes speaking and listening activities.

Which grammatical concepts should pupils be familiar with by the end of Year 2?

By the end of Year 2, pupils should be familiar with basic sentence punctuation, using sentences with different forms such as statements, questions, exclamations, and commands, and recognising common prefix and suffix uses.

What are the key objectives for English learning in the second year at primary school?

The key objectives include developing effective communication, both orally and in writing, enhancing reading fluency and comprehension, and understanding basic grammar and punctuation rules.

What are the expected competencies in English writing for pupils in Year 2?

Pupils are expected to write narratives about personal experiences or about texts they have read. They learn to write for different purposes, use past and present tense correctly, and expand their use of vocabulary.

How does the Year 2 English curriculum address reading and comprehension skills?

The curriculum helps pupils to develop reading and comprehension skills through regular guided reading sessions and discussing a variety of texts. They learn to answer questions and make inferences based on what they have read.

What topics and genres are typically explored in Year 2 English lessons?

Year 2 English lessons might cover a range of genres, including fairy stories, informational texts, poetry, and instructions. They explore various themes to broaden pupils’ understanding of different types of writing.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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