Cumberland Infant School


                                 Year 2 – English

 By the beginning of year 2, pupils should be able to read all common graphemes. They should be able to read unfamiliar words containing these graphemes, accurately and without undue hesitation, by sounding them out in books that are matched closely to each pupil’s level of word reading knowledge. They should also be able to read many common words containing GPCs taught so far [for example, shout, hand, stop, or dream], without needing to blend the sounds out loud first. Pupils’ reading of common exception words [for example, you, could, many, or people], should be secure. Pupils will increase their fluency by being able to read these words easily and automatically. Finally, pupils should be able to retell some familiar stories that have been read to and discussed with them or that they have acted out during year 1.

During year 2, teachers should continue to focus on establishing pupils’ accurate and speedy word reading skills. They should also make sure that pupils listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books; this should include whole books. The sooner that pupils can read well and do so frequently, the sooner they will be able to increase their vocabulary, comprehension and their knowledge across the wider curriculum.

In writing, pupils at the beginning of year 2 should be able to compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They should be able to spell correctly many of the words covered in year 1 (see English Appendix 1). They should also be able to make phonically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt. Finally, they should be able to form individual letters correctly, so establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning.

It is important to recognise that pupils begin to meet extra challenges in terms of spelling during year 2. Increasingly, they should learn that there is not always an obvious connection between the way a word is said and the way it is spelt. Variations include different ways of spelling the same sound, the use of so-called silent letters and groups of letters in some words and, sometimes, spelling that has become separated from the way that words are now pronounced, such as the ‘le’ ending in table. Pupils’ motor skills also need to be sufficiently advanced for them to write down ideas that they may be able to compose orally. In addition, writing is intrinsically harder than reading: pupils are likely to be able to read and understand more complex writing (in terms of its vocabulary and structure) than they are capable of producing themselves.

For pupils who do not have the phonic knowledge and skills they need for year 2, teachers should use the year 1 programmes of study for word reading and spelling so that pupils’ word reading skills catch up. However, teachers should use the year 2 programme of study for comprehension so that these pupils hear and talk about new books, poems, other writing, and vocabulary with the rest of the class.


Year 2 programme of study


Reading – word reading


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent

§  read accurately by blending the sounds in words that contain the graphemes taught so far, especially recognising alternative sounds for graphemes

§  read accurately words of two or more syllables that contain the same graphemes as above

§  read words containing common suffixes

§  read further common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word

§  read most words quickly and accurately, without overt sounding and blending, when they have been frequently encountered

§  read aloud books closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation

§  re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading.










Reading – comprehension


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

§  listening to, discussing and expressing views about a wide range of contemporary and classic poetry, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently

§  discussing the sequence of events in books and how items of information are related

§  becoming increasingly familiar with and retelling a wider range of stories, fairy stories and traditional tales

§  being introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways

§  recognising simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry

§  discussing and clarifying the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known vocabulary

§  discussing their favourite words and phrases

§  continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear

§  understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they listen to by:

§  drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher

§  checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading

§  making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done

§  answering and asking questions

§  predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far

§  participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say

§  explain and discuss their understanding of books, poems and other material, both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves.




Writing – transcription


Statutory requirements

Spelling (see English Appendix 1)

Pupils should be taught to:

§  spell by:

§  segmenting spoken words into phonemes and representing these by graphemes, spelling many correctly

§  learning new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learn some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones

§  learning to spell common exception words

§  learning to spell more words with contracted forms

§  learning the possessive apostrophe (singular) [for example, the girl’s book]

§  distinguishing between homophones and near-homophones

§  add suffixes to spell longer words, including ment,ness,ful, less, –ly

§  apply spelling rules and guidance, as listed in English Appendix 1





Statutory requirements


Pupils should be taught to:

§  form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another

§  start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined

§  write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters

§  use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.





Writing – composition


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by:

§  writing narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional)

§  writing about real events

§  writing poetry

§  writing for different purposes

§  consider what they are going to write before beginning by:

§  planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about

§  writing down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary

§  encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence

§  make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by:

§  evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils

§  re-reading to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form

§  proof-reading to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation [for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly]

§  read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.










Writing – vocabulary, grammar and punctuation


Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

§  develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English Appendix 2 by:

§  learning how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly (see English Appendix 2), including full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks, question marks, commas for lists and apostrophes for contracted forms and the possessive (singular)

§  learn how to use:

§  sentences with different forms: statement, question, exclamation, command

§  expanded noun phrases to describe and specify [for example, the blue butterfly]

§  the present and past tenses correctly and consistently including the progressive form

§  subordination (using when, if, that, or because) and co-ordination (using or, and, or but)

§  the grammar for year 2 in English Appendix 2

§  some features of written Standard English

§  use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 in discussing their writing.



Appendix 2 - Spelling – work for year 2


In this spelling appendix, the left-hand column is statutory; the middle and right-hand columns are non-statutory guidance. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is used to represent sounds (phonemes). A table showing the IPA is provided in this document.

Revision of work from year 1


As words with new GPCs are introduced, many previously-taught GPCs can be revised at the same time as these words will usually contain them.


New work for year 2


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

The /dʒ/ sound spelt as ge and dge at the end of words, and sometimes spelt as g elsewhere in words before e, i and y


The letter j is never used for the /dʒ/ sound at the end of English words.

At the end of a word, the /dʒ/ sound is spelt –dge straight after the /æ/, /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ɒ/, /ʌ/ and /ʊ/ sounds (sometimes called ‘short’ vowels).

After all other sounds, whether vowels or consonants, the /dʒ/ sound is spelt as –ge at the end of a word.

In other positions in words, the /dʒ/ sound is often (but not always) spelt as g before e, i, and y. The /dʒ/ sound is always spelt as j before a, o and u.


badge, edge, bridge, dodge, fudge

age, huge, change, charge, bulge, village

gem, giant, magic, giraffe, energy jacket, jar, jog, join, adjust

The /s/ sound spelt c before e, i and y



race, ice, cell, city, fancy


The /n/ sound spelt kn and (less often) gn at the beginning of words


The ‘k’ and ‘g’ at the beginning of these words was sounded hundreds of years ago.

knock, know, knee, gnat, gnaw

The /r/ sound spelt wr at the beginning of words


This spelling probably also reflects an old pronunciation.

write, written, wrote, wrong, wrap

The /l/ or /əl/ sound spelt –le at the end of words


The –le spelling is the most common spelling for this sound at the end of words.

table, apple, bottle, little, middle


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

The /l/ or /əl/ sound spelt –el at the end of words


The –el spelling is much less common than –le.

The –el spelling is used after m, n, rs, v, w and more often than not after s.

camel, tunnel, squirrel, travel, towel, tinsel

The /l/ or /əl/ sound spelt –al at the end of words


Not many nouns end in –al, but many adjectives do.

metal, pedal, capital, hospital, animal

Words ending –il


There are not many of these words.

pencil, fossil, nostril

The /aɪ/ sound spelt –y at the end of words


This is by far the most common spelling for this sound at the end of words.

cry, fly, dry, try, reply, July

Adding –es to nouns and verbs ending in –y


The y is changed to i before –es is added.

flies, tries, replies, copies, babies, carries

Adding –ed, –ing, –er and –est to a root word ending in –y with a consonant before it


The y is changed to i before –ed, –er and –est are added, but not before –ing as this would result in ii. The only ordinary words with ii are skiing and taxiing.

copied, copier, happier, happiest, cried, replied

but copying, crying, replying

Adding the endings –ing, –ed, –er, –est and –y to words ending in –e with a consonant before it


The –e at the end of the root word is dropped before –ing, –ed, –er, –est, –y or any other suffix beginning with a vowel letter is added. Exception: being.

hiking, hiked, hiker, nicer, nicest, shiny

Adding –ing, –ed, –er, –est and –y to words of one syllable ending in a single consonant letter after a single vowel letter


The last consonant letter of the root word is doubled to keep the /æ/, /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ɒ/ and /ʌ/ sound (i.e. to keep the vowel ‘short’).

Exception: The letter ‘x’ is never doubled: mixing, mixed, boxer, sixes.

patting, patted, humming, hummed, dropping, dropped, sadder, saddest, fatter, fattest, runner, runny

The /ɔ:/ sound spelt a before l and ll


The /ɔ:/ sound (‘or’) is usually spelt as a before l and ll.

all, ball, call, walk, talk, always


The /ʌ/ sound spelt o



other, mother, brother, nothing, Monday


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

The /i:/ sound spelt –ey


The plural of these words is formed by the addition of –s (donkeys, monkeys, etc.).

key, donkey, monkey, chimney, valley

The /ɒ/ sound spelt a after w and qu


a is the most common spelling for the /ɒ/ (‘hot’) sound after w and qu.

want, watch, wander, quantity, squash

The /ɜ:/ sound spelt or after w


There are not many of these words.

word, work, worm, world, worth

The /ɔ:/ sound spelt ar after w


There are not many of these words.

war, warm, towards

The /ʒ/ sound spelt s



television, treasure, usual

The suffixes –ment, –ness, –ful , –less and –ly


If a suffix starts with a consonant letter, it is added straight on to most root words without any change to the last letter of those words.


(1) argument

(2) root words ending in –y with a consonant before it but only if the root word has more than one syllable.

enjoyment, sadness, careful, playful, hopeless, plainness (plain + ness), badly



merriment, happiness, plentiful, penniless, happily



In contractions, the apostrophe shows where a letter or letters would be if the words were written in full (e.g. can’tcannot).

It’s means it is (e.g. It’s raining) or sometimes it has (e.g. It’s been raining), but it’s is never used for the possessive.

can’t, didn’t, hasn’t, couldn’t, it’s, I’ll

The possessive apostrophe (singular nouns)



Megan’s, Ravi’s, the girl’s, the child’s, the man’s

Words ending in –tion



station, fiction, motion, national, section


Statutory requirements


Rules and guidance (non‑statutory)

Example words (non‑statutory)

Homophones and near-homophones


It is important to know the difference in meaning between homophones.

there/their/they’re, here/hear, quite/quiet, see/sea, bare/bear, one/won, sun/son, to/too/two, be/bee, blue/blew, night/knight









Common exception words


Some words are exceptions in some accents but not in others – e.g. past, last, fast, path and bath are not exceptions in accents where the a in these words is pronounced /æ/, as in cat.

Great, break and steak are the only common words where the /eɪ/ sound is spelt ea.

door, floor, poor, because, find, kind, mind, behind, child, children*, wild, climb, most, only, both, old, cold, gold, hold, told, every, everybody, even, great, break, steak, pretty, beautiful, after, fast, last, past, father, class, grass, pass, plant, path, bath, hour, move, prove, improve, sure, sugar, eye, could, should, would, who, whole, any, many, clothes, busy, people, water, again, half, money, Mr, Mrs, parents, Christmas – and/or others according to programme used.

Note: ‘children’ is not an exception to what has been taught so far but is included because of its relationship with ‘child’.