10 Steps to Success - Year 4 - Writing

Children in Year 4 continue to focus on enhancing cohesion and adding impact to their writing. They do this by learning to ensure that paragraphs have relevant and varied openings, and are used for a new subject, time, place, or person.  Children’s non-fiction writing should contain an introduction and a conclusion.  Children also continue to practise selecting strong vocabulary for effect and precision; weak verbs such as ‘got’, ‘said’ and ‘went’ should be replaced.  Most common words, homophones and words with prefixes and suffixes should be spelt correctly. 

By the end of Year 4, punctuation of speech should be secure and reporting clauses should be used correctly. By term 3, the comma should also be used correctly to punctuate subordinate clauses and fronted adverbials. Lower and upper case letters should be correctly sized and joined.

Follow this link to year 4 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 4, they will make a flying start to year 5. 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 ? ! “ ” and separating comma are used. Reporting clauses used and punctuated correctly – before, after or even interrupting the speech.    

Skill 3:

Extending ideas: A wide variety of conjunctions are used to extend sentences e.g. who, where, which, before, after, because, although. Subordinate clauses are marked with commas.    

Skill 4:

Variety in description: A range of sentence structures are used e.g. prepositional phrases, -ing and –ed clauses, adverbs, and separated by commas. Use of weak ‘There is/was/are’ sentence structures avoided. 

Skill 5: 

Paragraphing: Paragraphs are used for a new subject, time, place or person. Non-fiction writing contains an introduction and conclusion, and each paragraph is organised around a theme. Subheadings may be used.    

Skill 6:

Powerful vocabulary: Strong verbs are selected for effect and precision – weak verbs such as ‘got’, ‘went’ or ‘said’ are replaced. Adventurous adjectives and adverbs used e.g. in description and reporting clauses. 

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 & suffixes spelled correctly. Suffix rules applied accurately: e.g. cvc add-ing, -ed, -ies plurals. Knowledge of Year 4 words secure.    

Skill 10:

Good handwriting: Upper and lower cases are correctly formed, consistently joined and even in size. Writing is fluent and legible, and not laborious or slow.