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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Grammar

Sounds and words.

Sounds and Words is designed to support teachers and students to learn about phonological awareness and spelling. It builds on the Literacy Learning Progressions in support of the reading and writing standards.

We should better understand what is going on before our eyes because better understanding results in better-quality teaching interactions ...

Clay, 1998, page 131

Definition: The study of grammar is about learning how words work in relation to one another to make meaning at word, sentence, paragraph, and whole-text levels.

Grammar is essential to literacy success, enabling students to speak, read, and write with clarity, accuracy, and fluency. Students require planned and ongoing instruction in grammar. Grammar involves:

  • syntax (how words are arranged within sentences)
  • morphology (how words are structured).

Grammar develops through oral language. In their reading and writing, students draw on what they understand and use in listening and speaking. Students learn grammar most effectively when they can see its relevance to their authentic text experiences.

What do I need to know and do?

Oral language and developing grammatical structures

Oral language is the basis for teaching and learning grammar at school. The study of grammar is about the ways words work in relation to each other to make meaning.

Most students are able to produce grammatically correct sentences using nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs at school entry. Their grammar develops as they engage with texts.

Teachers can build on students’ grammatical knowledge by making links between oral language and reading and writing.

How grammar develops

Planned teaching of grammar reinforces the learning that occurs spontaneously. Literacy teaching provides opportunities for students to build knowledge and practise features of English, such as pronouns and how to use them, and verbs and their tenses.

As students encounter interesting ways of combining words, they will develop curiosity and will want to experiment, for example, changing a noun or an adjective for effect, or by varying sentence structures.

Knowledge of grammar involves both  morphology and syntax. Students use their developing knowledge of morphology, particularly word endings, to inform their understanding. They develop knowledge of syntax as they read and write simple sentences and some compound sentences. Students also understand that basic punctuation (such as capital letters, full stops, and speech marks) contributes to meaning.

Students’ knowledge of grammar supports their learning. They need this knowledge to think and talk about English and how it works, for example, about nouns, sentences, verbs and tenses, suffixes, and speech marks. Many terms are encountered during deliberate instruction, for example, during shared reading and writing.

  • For further information, see Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 1 to 3, pages 11, 28, and 75–76, Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, page 29, A Grammar Companion, pages 1–9, and  Exploring Language: The Grammar Toolbox.

Students use their growing knowledge of morphology to work with prefixes, suffixes, and roots. They increase their knowledge of syntax as they read and write simple, compound, and some complex sentences. Students also use a widening range of punctuation.

Students’ knowledge of grammar supports their academic learning. They need the language to think and talk about English and how it works, for example, the roles of adjectives and adverbs, verbs and tenses, prefixes, suffixes, and roots, types of sentence, and paragraph and text structures. They encounter many terms during deliberate instruction, for example, during shared and guided reading and writing.

By the end of year 8, students understand that grammatical structures can be manipulated to meet different purposes. As they encounter interesting ways of combining words, they develop curiosity and will experiment, for example, by selecting more complex punctuation, such as an ellipsis, for effect.

Year 8 students consciously use their knowledge of morphology to work with diverse prefixes, suffixes, and roots. They increase their knowledge of syntax as they develop awareness of how sentence structures can meet different purposes. Students understand text construction and the choice of appropriate punctuation.

Students’ knowledge of grammar supports their academic learning. They need language to think and talk about literary, academic, and subject-specific usages, for example, adverbials, clauses, or concepts such as appropriate connectives. Many terms are encountered during deliberate instruction, for example, during guided reading and writing.

  • For further information, see Learning through Talk: Oral language in years 4 to 8, pages 11, 27, and 75; Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, page 29; A Grammar Companion, pages 1–9; and Exploring Language: The Grammar Toolbox.

English language learners

English language learners need specialised support. They need repeated opportunities to encounter new language structures, for example, when you ask a question. Some common sentences, for example, "What do you think she might have been doing?", can be grammatically complex. Be aware of this and support students to understand complex constructions.

Find out your students’ language background. Try to understand how other languages are different from English. This can give you insights into students’ errors and help you to prompt them to notice these differences.

Teaching grammar is closely linked to teaching vocabulary and spelling. Activities related to word structures such as word endings are highly relevant to the development of grammar.

See more teaching suggestions in Sound Sense (PDF). See also Ready to Read Teacher Support Materials.

What do I need to do?

Plan opportunities for year 1 students to develop an understanding of grammar. Reinforce students’ learning by revisiting key concepts in different contexts. Teach year 3 students to use what they know about the structure of words and sentences to make sense of texts in their reading and writing. Support students to recognise different text structures. In year 4, deliberately teach grammar as an integral part of your literacy programme. Reinforce this teaching by creating opportunities throughout the school day for students to revisit familiar structures in many curriculum contexts. Teach year 7 students grammatical structures so that they can use and create texts in a variety of curriculum contexts. Support students to develop confidence in using strategies, including drawing on their knowledge of text types and structures. In year 8, deliberately teach grammar as an integral part of your literacy programme. Focus on using grammatical knowledge and strategies across many curriculum contexts, creating opportunities for students to revisit familiar structures and encounter new ones.

Instructional strategies

Deliberately teach grammatical categories, for example, nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns. Focus on parts of words and the arrangement of words to make meaning. Monitor the impact of your teaching by noticing how and when students are using and recognising grammatical structures in their reading and writing and explaining the processes.

For an example of this, download the conversation below, or read the transcript:

Shared learning goals

Share assessment information with students to develop learning goals, for example, "We are learning to say our sentences before we write them". When students see purpose in their learning, they develop metacognitive awareness – they are able to articulate what they know. This helps them to set new goals and meet new challenges.

  • For more information about developing learning goals, see Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, pages 43–44, and Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 1 to 3, pages 79–80.
  • For more information about metacognition and developing learning goals, see Effective Literacy Practice in years 5 to 8, pages 39–43, Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 4 to 8, pages 77–78, and Teaching Reading Comprehension, Alison Davis, chapter 1.

Deliberate acts of teaching

Use a range of deliberate acts of teaching:

  • Model how students can use their oral language (for example, how to ask a question) in their reading and writing.
  • Give feedback on students’ strategies, for example, their use of syntactical knowledge to arrange words in a sentence.
  • Explain why pronouns are used in a shared story.
  • Prompt students to notice common irregular past-tense verbs in texts. 

For an example of this, download the conversation below, or read the transcript:

  • Model the form and use of common modal verbs, for example, in persuasive writing.
  • Give feedback to encourage students to use strategies, for example, the use of syntactical knowledge to add a clause to a simple sentence.
  • Explain the use of connectives to indicate sequence.
  • Prompt students to notice the use of tense according to text purpose (for example, past tense in narrative, present tense in explanations).
  • Model the form and use of auxiliary verbs and participles to show distinction in tense.
  • Give feedback on the effectiveness of subordinate clauses in draft writing.
  • Prompt students to notice in a shared text the use of connectives to influence the reader.
  • Question students about appropriate strategies, such as inferring by using their knowledge of sentence structure to solve an unfamiliar phrase.
  • Prompt students to assess the impact of the passive voice in relation to the purpose of the writing.

For an example of this, download the conversation below, or read the transcript:

Planning literacy teaching with a focus on grammar

Many approaches to reading and writing, for example, shared reading and language experience activities, provide contexts for developing knowledge of grammatical structures.

Look for opportunities to support students’ use of the processing strategies that will build their grammatical knowledge. These strategies include using prior knowledge of word endings (for example, to write words in the past tense), to identify prefixes and using syntactic information to write words in the correct order and to identify simple conjunctions.

  • For more information about processing strategies and sources of information, see Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, chapter 2.
  • For more information about processing strategies and sources of information, see Effective Literacy Practice in years 5 to 8, chapter 2.

English language learners

Provide guidance on word order (in sentences such as statements, requests, and other questions), prepositions, and different forms of nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Provide opportunities for students to encounter new word, phrase, sentence, and text structures. English language learners may also need explicit information about grammatical correctness. For example, simply repeating back their incorrect sentences with the correct grammar may not give them clear enough information about their errors and how to correct them.

Encourage students to notice and discuss differences between English and other languages they know.

Creating – and seizing – opportunities for grammar development

Create opportunities for students to use new and familiar sentence structures in a variety of contexts. Look for opportunities at all times to use different grammatical structures:

  • Look for opportunities for teaching word classes, sentence structures (for example, formulate different types of question), and punctuation. These could be opportunities in:
    • literacy contexts, for example, one-to-one writing conferences, paired reading, independent reading and small-group shared writing
    • specific activities, for example, listing common verbs with irregular past tense, attending to word order and punctuation when changing indirect speech to direct speech.

For older students

  • Look for opportunities to teach and reinforce the roles and distinctions among word classes, phrases and clauses, sentence and paragraph structures, and text cohesion. These could be opportunities in:
    • literacy contexts, for example, interviews, independent reading clubs, and reciprocal teaching
    • specific activities, for example, mini-lessons to identify distinctions in structure among the four sentence functions (command, statement, question, exclamation)
    • activities where students use different kinds of connectives, for, example, compare and contrast and persuade (on the other hand, otherwise).
  • Look for opportunities to build students’ language consciousness. Deepen their appreciation by drawing attention to interesting grammatical conventions, such as an exclamation mark in dialogue or such as use of inversion for dramatic impact in a literary text.
  • Look for opportunities to teach academic and content-specific terms so that students can acquire the language to think and talk about their learning. For example, consciously encourage the use of relevant language, such as proper nouns or "rhetorical" and "adverbial clauses".

For an example of this; download the conversation below, or read the transcript:

"The words we speak, write, and read are organised into grammatical units, and readers and writers consider the relationships of meanings within and between grammatical units".

Different Paths to Common Outcomes, page 151

Useful resources

Standardised assessment procedures

Each standardised assessment tool provides some useful information about specific aspects of grammar development.

  • The School Entry Assessment Tell Me task gives information about students’ understanding of sequence, sentence structure, and tense as they retell a story. Criteria are provided to score their performance.
  • The ESOL Funding Assessment Guidelines (page 27) include a description of a record of oral language – a combined assessment task using controlled spoken text. The task gives an insight into the language the student can retain.
  • Junior Oral Language Screening Tool is for use with five-year-olds whose oral language is causing concern. This tool includes a section on grammar.

Specialised assessment resources

  • The English Language Learning Progressions (for mainstream and ELL teachers) can be used alongside the ESOL Progress Assessment Guidelines and the ESOL Funding Assessment Guidelines. Students in years 1–4 who are at Foundation or Stage 1 in ELLP can be monitored according to ELLP for up to two years before being assessed against the National Standards.
  • Dyslexia: Literacy Online provides information about key Ministry of Education resources.
    •  defines and describes dyslexia and provides information about assessments as well as support for teachers.
  • Assessment Online and Using Evidence in Teaching Practice (Helen Timperley and Judy Parr) include more detail about the assessment procedures and tools used in New Zealand schools.
  • See also: Knowledge of the learner

Ready to Read Teacher Support Materials.

A Grammar Companion, pages 1–9

Exploring Language: The Grammar Toolbox.

Suggestions for assessment

What can my students do?

Use a range of assessment tools to find out about your students’ use of grammatical structures. Use this information to help you plan the next teaching steps.

Information from oral language

Listen to students’ conversations throughout the school day. At this level, oral language is the primary source of information – during structured teaching and in informal sessions.

Your students may speak languages other than English, so find out about their grammar use in those languages. Students who are new to New Zealand or new to English-speaking environments may need time to settle in before they begin to speak in class. Pay attention to what they understand in English as well as what they say.

  • See Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 1 to 3, pages 32–33, and Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, pages 56–58 for more information.

Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 1 to 3 describes the grammar expectations at the end of year 1. The student:

  • uses a wide range of irregular past-tense verbs (for example, ran, threw, told)
  • understands, although may not use, the passive form of sentences (for example, "The boy was pushed by the man.")
  • uses the verb forms "could", "should", and "would" to express possibilities and uncertainty
  • readily asks questions of both peers and adults.

Noticing whether students are meeting these oral language expectations will inform teachers’ instruction and how they can support their students.

  • For guidance on gathering information as you monitor students’ oral language, see Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 1 to 3, pages 34–38, and Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, pages 56–58.

Learning through Talk in years 4 to 8 describes the expectations for grammar at the end of year 4. The student:

  • is confident in using a range of grammatical structures in planned talk
  • uses all pronouns confidently and accurately in extended talk
  • draws on understanding of morphology when speaking (or writing), for example, uses knowledge of prefixes such as dis- or un- (disappear, unlikely) or suffixes such as -less (helpless) to generate new forms of familiar words
  • asks a range of questions to clarify meaning or pursue a topic or line of argument
  • uses some appropriate verbal features in small-group discussion to build and link ideas (I agree…, What if…, I think…).

Learning through Talk in years 4 to 8 describes the expectations for grammar at the end of year 8. The student:

  • speaks, using grammar that is usually correct
  • uses increasingly complex language structures in planned talk, such as structures using the adverbs "otherwise", "however", or "therefore" to connect ideas.

Some of our students may speak languages other than English, so find out about their grammar use in those languages. Students who are new to New Zealand or new to English-speaking environments may need time to settle in before they begin to speak in class. Pay attention to what they understand in English as well as what they say.

  • See Learning through Talk: Oral Language in years 4 to 8, page 32, for more information.

Information from analysis of students’ writing

Analysis of how your students use grammatical structures (especially sentences) gives you information about their level of knowledge and their next learning steps. Find out if your students can write in languages other than English. Gather information about their written grammar in those languages.

  • See Effective Literacy Practice in years 1 to 4, pages 61 and 66.
  • The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars include examples of students’ writing, which can be used to guide assessment and to inform your teaching decisions. The annotations include comments about students’ use of grammar. The progress indicators matrix describes the features of students’ use of text structure, sentences, and punctuation at various levels.

Observation-based procedures

Observations provide valuable information about students’ use and understanding of grammatical structures.

Informal observations

Observe how the students use grammar when they are talking, reading, and writing. Look for opportunities for informal observations during:

  • activities involving work with words and sentences, for example, reassembling cut-up sentences, independent or group activities, such as maths or language games, and activities involving talking and writing down words and sentences
  • peer reading or writing, and independent or group activities involving work with words and their structures and with sentences, paragraphs, and whole texts
  • brief, on-the-run interactions focused on a student’s use of phrases and sentences, for example, simple conjunctions in their writing or subject–verb agreement
  • independent or group activities where students describe and share their science or maths inquiries
  • peer feedback on each other’s writing
  • brief but explicit on-the-run interactions focused on a student’s understanding, for example, during a discussion of active or passive voice
  • group reading as students negotiate mixed text types and discuss concepts and author’s purpose.

Look for evidence of students’ use of language, for example, simple sentence structures in a narrative or appropriate use of adjectives and nouns when narrating. Look also for an awareness of the ways words can be used to communicate.

Structured observations

Plan structured observations during specific literacy activities. Structured observations are important, given students’ wide range of knowledge and expertise. Use these guiding questions for your observations:

  • Does the student draw on oral language to make meaning, for example, in order of words?
  • Can the student compose simple sentences and compound sentences?
  • Is there variety in sentence structures?
  • Does the student consistently use capital letters and full stops?
  • Does the student use tenses accurately?
  • Can the student formulate different kinds of questions, for example, Who? When? Why? How?
  • Does the student demonstrate awareness of subject–verb and noun–pronoun agreement?
  • Does the student use strategies, for example, knowledge of prefixes and suffixes, to help construct meaning? Does the student draw on oral language, for example, to recognise and indicate pauses or phrasing with appropriate punctuation?
  • Is there variety of sentence beginnings, length, and structure?
  • Can the student use all pronouns confidently and accurately?
  • Does the student demonstrate an understanding of connectives to indicate, for example, sequence in a narrative?
  • Does the student confidently draw on morphology (prefixes, suffixes, and roots) to help construct meaning? Does the student select appropriate strategies, such as morphological analysis or knowledge of sentence structure, to help construct meaning in challenging, subject-specific texts?
  • Can the student identify and explain the role of connectives?
  • Can the student recognise links in paragraphs and make such links in their writing?
  • Does the student understand the use of punctuation and use more complex punctuation, such as the apostrophe for contractions and possessives?

Standardised assessment procedures

Each standardised assessment tool provides some useful information about specific aspects of grammar development.

  • The School Entry Assessment Tell Me task gives information about students’ understanding of sequence, sentence structure, and tense as they retell a story. Criteria are provided to score their performance.
  • The ESOL Funding Assessment Guidelines (page 27) include a description of a record of oral language – a combined assessment task using controlled spoken text. The task gives an insight into the language the student can retain.
  • Junior Oral Language Screening Tool is for use with five-year-olds whose oral language is causing concern, this tool includes a section on grammar.
  • Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle) diagnoses students’ strengths and learning needs in aspects of their reading and writing, including their knowledge of grammar, in relation to the (English) curriculum expectations.
  • Supplementary Tests of Achievement in Reading (STAR) includes items for assessing students’ sentence and paragraph comprehension and their knowledge of word meanings in context. Students use their knowledge of structure and vocabulary to select appropriate words to complete sentences.
  • Progressive Achievement Tests (PATs) can provide information on students’ use of morphological and syntactical knowledge in reading.
  • The Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs) include items that can assess students’ knowledge and use of appropriate language, including grammatical structures, to find and use specific information.

Specialised assessment resources

  • The English Language Learning Progressions (for mainstream and ELL teachers) can be used alongside the ESOL Progress Assessment Guidelines and the ESOL Funding Assessment Guidelines. Students in years 1–4 who are at Foundation or Stage 1 in ELLP can be monitored according to ELLP for up to two years before being assessed against the National Standards.
  • Dyslexia: Literacy Online provides information about key Ministry of Education resources.
    • defines and describes dyslexia and provides information about assessments as well as support for teachers.
  • Assessment Online and Using Evidence in Teaching Practice (Helen Timperley and Judy Parr) include more detail about the assessment procedures and tools used in New Zealand schools.    
  • Literacy Online provides more information about identifying your students’ specific literacy needs.

After 1 year at school

What should my students know and be able to do?

The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, and The Literacy Learning Progressions provide guidance for teachers of year 1 students.

The New Zealand Curriculum: English, level 1 indicators

Listening, reading, and viewing

Processes and strategies

  • Uses sources of information (meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic information) and prior knowledge to make sense of a range of texts

Language features

  • Shows some knowledge of text conventions, such as: capital letters, full stops, and word order; volume and clarity; and simple symbols

Structure

  • Understands that the order and organisation of words, sentences, and images contribute to text meaning

Speaking, writing, and presenting

Processes and strategies

  • Creates texts by using meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic sources of information, prior knowledge, and some processing strategies with some confidence

Language features

  • Begins to gain control of text conventions, such as: capital letters and full stops; some basic grammatical conventions; volume, clarity, and tone; and simple symbols

Structure

  • Uses knowledge of word and sentence order to communicate meaning in simple texts
  • Uses simple sentences with some variation in beginnings
  • May attempt compound and complex sentences

National Standards

Standard: Reading

After one year at school, students will read, respond to, and think critically about fiction and non-fiction texts at the Green level of Ready to Read.

Standard: Writing

After one year at school, students will create texts as they learn in a range of contexts across the New Zealand Curriculum within level 1. Students will use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Literacy Learning Progressions

Reading

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • decoding unfamiliar words by using some knowledge of  morphology (for example, the word endings -s, -ing, -ed)
  • understanding the meaning of basic punctuation features (for example, full stops, speech marks, and exclamation marks).

Writing

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • encoding (spelling) unfamiliar words by using their developing knowledge of morphology to write word endings correctly (for example, jump/jumped; boy/boys)
  • composing simple sentences and composing some compound sentences using conjunctions such as and or but
  • using capital letters and full stops to begin and end sentences.

After 2 years at school

What should my students know and be able to do?

The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, and The Literacy Learning Progressions provide guidance for teachers of year 2 students.

The New Zealand Curriculum: English, level 1 indicators

Listening, reading, and viewing

Processes and strategies

  • Uses sources of information (meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic information) and prior knowledge to make sense of a range of texts

Language features

  • Shows some knowledge of text conventions, such as: capital letters, full stops, and word order; volume and clarity; and simple symbols

Structure

  • Understands that the order and organisation of words, sentences, and images contribute to text meaning

Speaking, writing, and presenting

Processes and strategies

  • Creates texts by using meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic sources of information, prior knowledge, and some processing strategies with some confidence

Language features

  • Begins to gain control of text conventions, such as: capital letters and full stops; some basic grammatical conventions; volume, clarity, and tone; and simple symbols

Structure

  • Uses knowledge of word and sentence order to communicate meaning in simple texts
  • Uses simple sentences with some variation in beginnings
  • May attempt compound and complex sentences

National Standards

Standard: Reading

After two years at school, students will read, respond to, and think critically about fiction and non-fiction texts at the Turquoise level of Ready to Read.

Standard: Writing

After two years at school, students will create texts in order to meet the writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 1. Students will use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Literacy Learning Progressions

Reading

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • decoding unfamiliar words by using their developing knowledge of  morphology (such as knowledge of prefixes and suffixes)
  • understanding the meaning of punctuation features such as parentheses and of print features such as bold print and italics.

Writing

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • encoding (spelling) unfamiliar words by applying their knowledge of simple spelling rules (for example, using -es for plural nouns ending in s, such as buses)
  • attempting some variety and precision in the use of adjectives, nouns, and verbs
  • composing mainly simple and compound sentences with some variation in their beginnings
  • using simple conjunctions correctly, with subject–verb agreement and noun–pronoun agreement
  • using full stops, question marks, or exclamation marks to end sentences and using capital letters correctly to begin sentences (and for familiar proper nouns).

After 3 years at school

What should my students know and be able to do?

The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, and The Literacy Learning Progressions provide guidance for teachers of year 3 and 4 students.

The New Zealand Curriculum: English, level 2 indicators

Listening, reading, and viewing

Processes and strategies

  • Selects and uses sources of information (meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic information) and prior knowledge with growing confidence to make sense of increasingly varied and complex texts

Language features

  • Shows an increasing knowledge of the conventions of text

Structure

  • Understands that the order and organisation of words, sentences, paragraphs, and images contribute to text meaning

Speaking, writing, and presenting

Processes and strategies

  • Creates texts by using meaning, structure, visual and grapho-phonic sources of information, and processing strategies with growing confidence

Language features

  • Gains increasing control of text conventions, including some grammatical conventions

Structure

  • Uses knowledge of word and sentence order to communicate meaning when creating text
  • Organises and sequences ideas and information with some confidence
  • Begins to use a variety of sentence structures, beginnings, and lengths

National Standards

Standard: Reading

By the end of year 4, students will read, respond to, and think critically about texts in order to meet the reading demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 2. Students will locate and evaluate information and ideas within texts appropriate to this level as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Standard: Writing

By the end of year 4, students will create texts in order to meet the writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 2. Students will use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Literacy Learning Progressions

Reading

When students at this level read, respond to, and think critically about texts, they:

  • select from a variety of strategies to monitor their reading and to use when meaning breaks down (for example, cross-checking, rereading, using what they know about words and sentence structure, and looking for clues to confirm their predictions and inferences).

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • working out the meanings of new words, using strategies such as:
  • applying knowledge of the meanings of most common prefixes (for example, over-mis-sub-pre-inter-semi-mid-) and most common suffixes (for example, -ist-ity-ty,-ion, -able/-ible-ness-ment)
  • inferring word meanings from known roots and affixes (for example, by using the known meaning of tele- and -port to infer the meaning of teleport).

Writing

When students at this level create texts, they:

  • proofread for accuracy of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • using language and a simple text structure that are appropriate for the purpose, for example, an orientation, sequenced events described in the past tense, and linking words to show sequence (for a recount)
  • encoding (spelling) by: using their knowledge of diverse phoneme–grapheme relationships (for example, shipchefoceanstationspecial)of the meaning and spelling of morphemes (for example, root words and affixes), and of common, reliable spelling rules and conventions
  • expanding their writing vocabulary by using strategies such as:
    • applying their knowledge of the meaning of most common prefixes (for example, un-sub-pre-non-) and most common suffixes (for example, -ful-ly-tion-able/-ible-ment)
  • using mainly simple and compound sentences, along with some complex sentences, that vary in their beginnings, structures, and lengths and are mostly correct grammatically
  • correctly using subject–verb agreement, tense agreement, and pronouns and prepositions
  • using capital letters, full stops, question marks, and exclamation marks correctly and using speech marks, commas for lists, and apostrophes for contractions correctly most of the time.

End of year 6

What should my students know and be able to do?

The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, and The Literacy Learning Progressions provide guidance for teachers of year 5 and 6 students.

The New Zealand Curriculum: English, level 3 indicators

Listening, reading, and viewing

Processes and strategies

  • Integrates sources of information and prior knowledge with developing confidence to make sense of increasingly varied and complex texts

Language features

  • Shows an increasing knowledge of how a range of text conventions can be used appropriately

Structure

  • Understands that the order and organisation of words, sentences, paragraphs, and images contribute to and affect text meaning

Speaking, writing, and presenting

Processes and strategies

  • Creates a range of texts by integrating sources of information and processing strategies with developing confidence

Language features

  • Uses a range of text conventions, including most grammatical conventions, appropriately and with increasing accuracy

Structure

  • Organises written ideas into paragraphs with increasing confidence
  • Organises and sequences ideas and information with increasing confidence
  • Uses a variety of sentence structures, beginnings, and lengths

National Standards

Standard: Reading

By the end of year 6, students will read, respond to, and think critically about texts in order to meet the reading demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 3. Students will locate, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas within and across a small range of texts appropriate to this level as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Standard: Writing

By the end of year 6, students will create texts in order to meet the writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 3. Students will use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Literacy Learning Progressions

Reading

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • recognising basic grammatical constructions and understanding how these affect meaning
  • identifying the specific language features and structures of many common continuous and non-continuous text types (including mixed text types).

Writing

When students at this level create texts, they:

  • proofread to check the spelling, grammar, and punctuation, using appropriate computer-based or print tools.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • using their knowledge of how words work (for example, knowledge of diverse phoneme–grapheme relationships, of common, reliable spelling rules and conventions, and of the meanings and spellings of morphemes), along with their knowledge of word derivations, to fluently and correctly encode most unfamiliar words, including words of many syllables
  • organising related ideas into paragraphs (for example, paragraphs comprising a topic sentence with supporting detail) and beginning to use cohesive devices to link paragraphs
  • using simple and compound sentences that are correct grammatically and have a variety of structures, beginnings, and lengths and using some complex sentences that are mostly correct grammatically
  • using basic punctuation that is mostly correct (for example, when punctuating dialogue)
  • attempting some complex punctuation (for example, using apostrophes for possession, commas for clauses, or semicolons).

The study of grammar need not be onerous or dry. There is room for playfulness and creativity, for experimentation and discovery, for enjoyment and wonder. Children have an instinctive fascination with language. It is the teacher's job to nurture this.

A Grammar Companion for Primary Teachers, page 8

End of year 8

What should my students know and be able to do?

The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, and The Literacy Learning Progressions provide guidance for teachers of year 7 and 8 students.

The New Zealand Curriculum: English, level 4 indicators

Listening, reading, and viewing

Processes and strategies

  • Integrates sources of information and prior knowledge confidently to make sense of increasingly varied and complex texts

Language features

  • Shows an increasing knowledge of how a range of text conventions can be used appropriately and effectively

Structure

  • Understands that the order and organisation of words, sentences, paragraphs, and images contribute to and affect meaning in a range of texts

Speaking, writing, and presenting

Processes and strategies

  • Creates a range of texts by integrating sources of information and processing strategies with increasing confidence

Language features

  • Uses a range of text conventions, including grammatical conventions, appropriately, effectively, and with increasing accuracy

Structure

  • Achieves some coherence and wholeness when constructing texts
  • Organises and sequences ideas and information for a particular purpose or effect
  • Uses a variety of sentence structures, beginnings, and lengths for effect

National Standards

Standard: Reading

By the end of year 8, students will read, respond to, and think critically about texts in order to meet the reading demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 4. Students will locate, evaluate, and synthesise information and ideas within and across a range of texts appropriate to this level as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Standard: Writing

By the end of year 8, students will create texts in order to meet the writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at level 4. Students will use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

Literacy Learning Progressions

Reading

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • recognising and understanding the features and structures of a wide variety of continuous and non-continuous text types and text forms
  • recognising and understanding a variety of grammatical constructions and some rhetorical patterns (for example, cause and effect; comparing and contrasting)
  • making links across a text by recognising connectives or adverbial clauses.

Writing

When students at this level create texts, they:

  • craft and recraft text by revising and editing, checking that the text meets its purpose and is likely to engage the intended audience, and proofreading the text to check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • fluently and correctly encoding most unfamiliar words (including words of many syllables) by drawing on their knowledge of how words work (for example, in terms of diverse phoneme–grapheme relationships, common and reliable spelling rules and conventions, and the meanings and spellings of morphemes) and their knowledge of word derivations
  • organising their writing into paragraphs in which the ideas are clearly related and linking these paragraphs
  • using a variety of sentence structures, beginnings, and lengths for effect
  • using complex sentences that are grammatically correct
  • using basic punctuation correctly and attempting some complex punctuation (for example, using semicolons, colons, and parentheses).

Published on: 07 Mar 2015




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