If you are a parent of a child in primary school, you will probably be becoming aware of the increased focus on grammar and punctuation contained in the new National Curriculum. Your child’s school may have provided information about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests which Year 2 and Year 6 children will be taking next summer. Depending upon when and where you went to school, you may find the information coming from school (and the terminology being used by your child) challenging. Whether you are bewildered by the terminology used or just want to know a little more to support your child, I hope you will find this blog useful. You can click on the Parent’s Start Page to link to information about different areas of grammar and punctuation. Alternatively, enter a term in the search bar or click on a word in the cloud of labels. If you have further queries, get in touch and I will try to help where I can.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Nouns and noun phrases in Year 2

2014 National curriculum requirements for Year 2 children relating to nouns
Terminology used in Year 2
Expanded noun phrases for description and specification [for example, the blue butterfly, plain flour, the man in the moon]
noun phrase,

Formation of nouns using suffixes such as –ness, –er and by compounding [for example, whiteboard, superman]
compound (noun),

Formation of adjectives using suffixes such as –ful, –less
Use of the suffixes –er, –est in adjectives
Consolidation of previous learning
Continuing to use terminology from Year 1.

In Year 2, there is much more emphasis on children using the correct terms to understand and develop noun phrases in their writing.  At the end of Year 2, the grammar and punctuation test will use the terminology in questions designed to check children’s understanding of these grammatical features.

However, continuing to develop noun phrases and sentences orally is an important part of the writing process.  Children need to make choices about what words and phrases they will use, so experimenting out loud will help them investigate a number of possibilities and decide what sounds best and communicates their intended message to the reader.  Playing oral games with your children to create noun phrases will help them to try out different ideas for describing people, objects and places.

Adding words to the noun phrase is called ‘expanding the noun phrase’. In Year 2, children should investigate using more than one adjective and again, as in Year 1, should be encouraged to vary the words they start their noun phrases with (these words are called determiners, but this terminology is not required until Year 4).  

Following on from ideas for Year 1 children, pictures can again be used to build description. 

With a picture you can:
  • Collect adjectives to describe the noun and play around with combining them.  For example, small, slim, green, white, brown, lazy, patterned, sunbathing. If children write these phrases and they have more than one adjective, they will probably need to use a comma to separate these: that green, brown and white lizard, a small, slim lizard.
  • Use two words placed together to act as an adjective.  When we want two words to work together as an adjective, we need to put a hyphen between them, e.g. long-tailed, beady-eyed.
  • Play around with alliteration in the noun phrase, e.g. the lazy lizard, the long-tailed lizard.  (Alliteration is the use of two or more words beginning with the same sound, which usually means they also begin with the same letter.)  This can also be carried on in the rest of the sentence: The lazy, long-tailed lizard lay in the sun.
When children have been taught the suffix work in Year 2, you can add these adjectives to your games, e.g. a beautiful lizard, this helpless lizard.  Take any opportunity to talk about other words that are similar to these (e.g. beauty, help, helpful) and how the spelling is different.

With the suffixes –er and –est, you can create sentences in threes and see how imaginative you and your child can be.  For example:
  • The small lizard hid inside a watering can.
  • The smaller lizard curled up inside a flower pot.
  • The smallest lizard slipped inside an empty snail shell.
Sometimes we can’t add –er and –est without changing part of the adjective.  This happens when the adjective ends in –y.  In these cases, we need to change the –y to an –i and then add the suffix: happy, happier, happiest.

We don’t always add –er and –est to adjectives.  With some adjectives we need to use more or most, e.g. more beautiful, most expensive.  Children should learn that we don’t use more and –er together (more slimmer) or most and –est together (most friendliest).

Compound nouns are formed when two existing words join to create a new noun, e.g. super + man = superman, white + board = whiteboard.  You can copy the table below to enlarge, print and cut out cards which can be used in games to create compound words.  You can change the words in the table for new compound words that you find.

Turn all the cards face down and play a type of Kim’s game by remembering where the matching cards are.  Each player turns over two cards.  If they make a compound word, both cards can be kept by that player.  If not, hide the words by turning them down again, but try to remember where particular cards are so you can match them next time.  The winner is the player with the most compound words when all the cards are gone.


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