National Curriculum KS1 Y2: Spelling

Statutory requirements

Spelling (see English Appendix 1 [see the table below on this page])

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 [see the table below on this page]
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs, common exception words and punctuation taught so far.
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
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, r, s, 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
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. Exceptions: (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
Contractions In contractions, the apostrophe shows where a letter or letters would be if the words were written in full (e.g. can’t – cannot). 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
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.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

In year 2, pupils move towards more word-specific knowledge of spelling, including homophones. The process of spelling should be emphasised: that is, that spelling involves segmenting spoken words into phonemes and then representing all the phonemes by graphemes in the right order. Pupils should do this both for single-syllable and multi-syllabic words.

At this stage children’s spelling should be phonically plausible, even if not always correct. Misspellings of words that pupils have been taught to spell should be corrected; other misspelt words can be used as an opportunity to teach pupils about alternative ways of representing those sounds.

Pupils should be encouraged to apply their knowledge of suffixes from their word reading to their spelling. They should also draw from and apply their growing knowledge of word and spelling structure, as well as their knowledge of root words.


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