10 Steps to Success - Year 3 - Writing

Children learn to write in paragraphs in Year 3. These paragraphs should include a variety of simple, complex and compound sentences, with a range of conjunctions (meanwhile, during, following, when, if, because, although, however…). Pupils should start to include interesting and appropriate vocabulary that creates impact or clarifies information (e.g. a loud, wailing noise; stare, tremble, slither; magnificent, unbelievable).  Common homophones and near-homophones should be correctly spelt (e.g. their, there, they’re; your, you’re; where, were; allowed, aloud; to, two, too), and children will learn to spell words ending in -tion, -sion, -cian and  -ssion. 

In Year 3, children start to learn to use speech marks in dialogue, colons before a list and commas after fronted adverbials (Slowly, the boy stepped forward). Lower and upper case letters should be correctly sized and joined.

Follow this link to year 3 spelling lists. By the end of the year we expect children to be able to spell these words when they use them in their own writing (not just in a test).

We’ve broken the year’s key learning into 10 skills. If children can master these in year 3, they will make a flying start to year 4. They won’t necessarily be mastered in order.


10 Skills


Skill 1:

Secure sentence punctuation: Full stops and capital letters are used correctly, including proper nouns. Sentences consist of a main clause containing a verb, and a range of tenses are used. The writing makes sense.    








Skill 2:

Secure punctuation of speech: NSNL, capital letter and ? ! “ ” are used. Commas used to separate items in lists and after a sentence opener.    







Skill 3:

Extending ideas: A range of conjunctions are used to extend sentences e.g. meanwhile, during, when, if, because, although, however.    








Skill 4:

Variety in sentences: A range of sentence structures are used e.g. simple, compound, and complex sentences, and a variety of sentence openers used.    








Skill 5: 

Paragraphing: Paragraphs are used in narrative for a new location in a story, and to group similar information together in non-fiction writing.







Skill 6

Powerful vocabulary: Use interesting and appropriate vocabulary to create impact and to clarify information - both adjectives and adverbs (e.g. a loud, wailing noise; stare, tremble, slither, magnificent, and unbelievable).    








Skill 7

Writing for effect: Simile (using ‘as – as –‘ and ‘like’), metaphor and alliteration used in fiction and poetry to add interest. In non-fiction writing, rhetorical questions and imperative verbs are used to persuade.    








Skill 8

Editing and improving skills: Edit own and others’ writing, suggesting improvements and correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation. A dictionary is used independently to look up spellings and check meaning of words.    








Skill 9:

Accurate spelling: Most common words, homophones and words with prefixes (e.g. dis-, mis-, in-, im-, un-) and suffixes (e.g. -tion, -sion, -cian and -ssion). Knowledge of Year 3 words secure. 







Skill 10

Good handwriting: Upper and lower cases are correctly formed, consistently joined and even in size.