Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar & Punctuation

Our aim

We believe that spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are essential tools in helping children to write sentences and then texts that make sense and flow well. Our aim is to equip all children to know, use and apply these tools in order to gain finer control over what they write thinking carefully about their content and style and how this is appropriate to their audience and purpose. As children grow in confidence in these skills, they will be able to make informed decisions on what and how they write.

Our approach

Spelling is taught on a weekly basis through discrete sessions. Children are introduced to a focus spelling rule or pattern. A set of words based around this spelling rule are given to the children and practised and then tested. It is expected that children not only learn how to spell these words but also use them correctly within their writing. Children will learn to spell words that follow a pattern or rule as well as those that are identified as being common exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They may be exceptions to spelling rules or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way).

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is taught mainly within the teaching of English lessons in order to make clear the purpose and relevance of a specific word, piece of punctuation or grammatical term. These elements will be explored through identifying them in texts and by practising them before applying them in their own writing.

To find out what each class is learning about in spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, please see their specific class page or class newsletter.

How you can help at home

  • Make lists
  • Play countdown
  • Play guess who/riddles developing children’s use of nouns and adjectives e.g. I am white or grey, soft, distant, cold, damp and float up high in the sky. Who am I? (a cloud) 
  • Make words with alphabetti spaghetti
  • Write words in sand or playdough
  • Make letters/words out of pipe cleaners
  • Question your child on the sentences they write in order to prompt them to extend their ideas (see the hand question prompt below)
  • Use post it notes to label objects e.g. with a noun (table), with an expanded noun phrase (old, wooden table with crooked legs) or with prepositions (The old, wooden table with cooked legs is beside the sofa).

Useful links

Basics of Grammar

Progression of Grammar and Punctuation in Primary Schools

Spelling progression through the school

VGP progression through the school

SPAGhetti Surprise Parent Workshop PowerPoint

ISPACE sentence builder

Useful text and exercise work books. Great for revision.


An easy to read Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Dictionary – three variations

www.thebookpeople.co.uk/Oxford First Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Dictionary

www.thebookpeople.co.uk/Oxford: Primary Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Dictionary

www.thebookpeople.co.uk/Oxford School Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Dictionary

SPAGhetti Surprise

Thank you to all families who came to our recent SPAGhetti Surprise event in which we shared information on how we teach spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation at Sea Mills Primary School. We also looked at how you can support your child at home.

Resources including the PowerPoint used can be found above. All those who came received a goody bag full of useful resources including a tin of alphabet spaghetti. Thank you for all the positive feedback as well as suggestions on how we can make it even better next time.

What worked well:

  • “Examples – documents to take away”
  • “Really good – thanks very much!”
  • “Going through what is learnt in each year group and how to help.”
  • “Lots of information to look through. Helpful overview of what children need to learn over the school years.”
  • “Tasks we did, glossary to take home and the goody bag!”
  • “Relaxed atmosphere – useful goody bag!”
  • “Examples!”
  • “Demos of exercises, very informative and biscuits!”

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