Different types of words can be grouped according to what they ‘do’ in their sentence.
Nouns are by far the largest category of words in English. They signify all kinds of physical things both living and inanimate; they also signify imagined things like ‘a ghost’; and ideas or concepts, such as ‘love’, ‘guilt’ or ‘fate’.
Concrete and abstract nouns
Concrete nouns signify things, either in the real or imagined world. It’s usually possible to detect a concrete noun with one of the five senses. Abstract nouns refer to concepts and so cannot be perceived, except as an idea.
Examples of concrete nouns include:
The football lay discarded on the pitch.
The candle glowed in the darkness.
The Liverpool crowd cheered in excitement.
Examples of abstract nouns include:
There was hope in his eyes as he looked up.
Intelligence can be measured in several ways.
He was full of courage as he walked towards the battlefield.
Love is all around but hate hides in the shadows.
Some common nouns are made individual and special by being given a name. These are called proper or naming nouns. They are shown by being given an initial capital letter. People’s names, street addresses, cities, and book titles are all proper nouns, for example:
Ryan had never been to London before; Saturday was going to be his first time.
An adjective is a describing word or phrase that adds qualities to a noun. It normally comes before a noun, or after verbs like ‘am’, ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘appears’ or ‘seems’. For example:
The greedy man counted each shiny coin in his money pile; he rubbed his grubby hands excitedly. He was extremely greedy.
A verb lies at the heart of a sentence. It describes the action or state of the subject; that is, it is the ‘doing’ or ‘being’ part of the sentence. Verbs are used to signify a physical or mental action:
Abigail ran through the field.
Jane tore off the wrapping paper.
Some verbs can also link extra information about their subject to a complement:
The cake was delicious.
Noah appeared unwell.
Adverbs give extra detail about many other words apart from nouns. They can add detail to a verb, to an adjective or even to a whole sentence; and, like adjectives, they can be single words or phrases. This makes them a very useful but quite a difficult category to spot. Commonly, an adverb labels how, when or where something happens (and they often end in ‘–ly’):
The dog growled menacingly.
There were several seagulls squawking nearby.
The seagulls suddenly pounced on the family’s picnic.
The family could hardly move.
It was a very nice day.
Prepositions are short words and phrases that give information about place, time and manner.
She first put it on the table but then hid it under her bed.
He’s coming at 6.
A preposition can also be used at the start and end of a sentence.
Under the windowsill, the cat looked at me with disgust.
After ten o’clock, we went for a well-deserved ice cream.
That’s the table I want you to put it on.
On the stroke of six, he walked away.
You can join sentences, clauses and phrases together using joining words. Some common joining words include ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘so’ and ‘then’. Using these can make your writing flow more easily and let your reader know where you are with your narrative or argument.
Be adventurous with your joining words and aim to use some of the following:
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< Back to Curriculum
A child’s ability to communicate is vital to all aspects of their learning.
At Sound & District Primary School, Literacy is at the centre of our curriculum. We aim to provide children with rich and varied opportunities to read, write, speak, listen and perform with confidence and enjoyment to the best of their ability. These skills are extended through a range of activities in Literacy and across other subjects in the curriculum.
Speaking & Listening
Reception & Key stage 1 - pupils learn to speak clearly, thinking about the needs of their listeners. They work in small groups and as a class, joining in discussions and making relevant points. They also learn how to listen carefully to what other people are saying, so that they can remember the main points. They learn to use language in imaginative ways and express their ideas and feelings when working in role and in drama activities.
Key stage 2 - pupils learn how to speak in a range of contexts, adapting what they say and how they say it to the purpose and the audience. Taking varied roles in groups gives them opportunities to contribute to situations with different demands. They also learn to respond appropriately to others, thinking about what has been said and the language used.
Reception & Key Stage 1 - pupils' interest and pleasure in reading is developed as they learn to read confidently and independently. They focus on words and sentences and how they fit into whole texts. They work out the meaning of straightforward texts and say why they like them or do not like them.
Key stage 2 - pupils read enthusiastically a range of materials and use their knowledge of words, sentences and texts to understand and respond to the meaning. They increase their ability to read challenging and lengthy texts independently. They reflect on the meaning of texts, analysing and discussing them with others. Pupils learn to change the way they speak and write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literacy and non-literacy texts ad learn how language works.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception, Year One and Year Two. Phonics is a way of teaching children to read skilfully and quickly, and is taught alongside other reading strategies such as individual reading times as well as guided and shared reading. We aim to continually reinforce phonics learning where possible throughout the entire curriculum.
We follow the Letters and Sounds programme and introduce new sounds using interactive approaches such as Jolly Phonics.
There are lots of useful websites that can be used to support the teaching and learning of phonics.
Reception & Key stage 1 - pupils start to enjoy writing and see the value of it. They learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly.
Key stage 2 - pupils develop understanding that writing is both essential to thinking and learning, and enjoyable in its own right. They learn the main rules and conventions of written English and start to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. They use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve their work and to sustain their fiction and non-fiction writing.
How can parents help?
Encourage your children to read.
Encourage your children to develop their vocabulary and talk about their experiences.
Encourage your children to spot WOW words and perhaps write them down in a book at home or on a piece of paper.
Encourage your children to borrow words or phrases which they like from books, magazines or television programmes.
Encourage your children to write.
The following websites are recommended to support your child’s learning in Literacy:
Online word searches focusing on words with key sounds:
A huge variety of spelling games to keep you sharp:
BBC Bitesize activities aimed at practising a range of Key Stage 1 spelling techniques:
A variety of games suitable for up to Year 2. Includes ‘Print out’ worksheets for pen and paper practice:
The Spellits. A series of spelling activities taking place within the context of mystery solving, adventures and challenges for Key Stage 2 children:
An American site but provides good practice for spelling within dictation passages: