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Year 2 Writing Overview

The grid below is an overview of the writing units in Year 2. Each unit is driven by an engaging, vocabulary-rich book (or a school trip!) that inspires a wealth of writing opportunities.   Some of these books have strong thematic links to other areas of our curriculum (for example Science, History and Geography). If you would like to see how writing units are mapped across the whole school, please read our 'Whole School Writing Overview' which is available HERE. If you would like to find our more about our writing curriculum, please follow the link to our 'contacts' page and get in touch.

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term

Poetry:  Shape poems (1 week)

Stimulus: ‘The Magic Box’ by Kit Wright

Purpose and Audience: Create shape poems and share them with the school as a class book

Key knowledge and skills:

  • share and enjoy poetry
  • use appropriate adjectives to describe
  • write poetry

Poetry:  If I had wings (1 week)

Stimulus: ‘If I had wings’ by Pie Corbett

Purpose and Audience: write a  new verse for a poem to be performed by the class

Key knowledge and skills:

  • perform a poem
  • write new verses for a known poem
  • use vocabulary from wider reading

Poetry:  National competition (1 week)

Stimulus: changes each year

Purpose and Audience: write a  poem and enter it into a competition

Key knowledge and skills:

  • experiment with alliteration
  • make adventurous word choices
  • use repeating phrases

Non-fiction: Our trip to Preston Manor (3 weeks)

Stimulus: class trip

Purpose and Audience: write a recount; share it on the school website

Key knowledge and skills:

  • sequence events in time order (first, next, later, finally)
  • punctuate sentences accurately
  • write consistently in the past tense

Fiction: A modern fairy tale (3 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘The Tear Thief’ by Carol A. Duffy

Purpose and Audience: write a modern fairy tale and read it to a reception child

Key knowledge and skills:

  • know that stories help us learn about our feelings
  • use new vocabulary from the story
  • continue to develop subordination
  • use apostrophes for omission/possession

Fiction:  The Disgusting Sandwich (3 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘The disgusting sandwich’ by G. Edwards

Purpose and Audience: write a ‘disgusting’ story and read it to a Y1 child

Key knowledge and skills:

  • use the pattern of a known story
  • introduce basic speech punctuation (Y3)
  • use a variety of sentence structures (including subordination)

Non-fiction: The Chain Pier  (3 weeks)

Stimulus: information poster, class trip

Purpose and audience: create an information poster about a local tourist attraction and display them in public

Key knowledge and skills:

  • use commas for lists
  • write questions, statements, exclamation and commands
  • use expanded noun phrases to describe objects

Non-fiction: Animal Habitats (4 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘Wilderness’ by Mia Cassani

Purpose and Audience: write an information page for a class wiki about animal habitats

Key knowledge and skills:

  • develop (science) knowledge through reading
  • use present tense consistently
  • explore the layout of information texts
  • use research in non-fiction writing

Non-fiction:  Recounts, letters and instructions (5 weeks)

Stimuli: class trip to a restaurant and growing a plant during science sessions

Purpose and Audience: write a range of non-fiction work based on real experiences

Key knowledge and skills:

  • rehearse sequencing events (first, next, after, finally)
  • rehearse statements, questions, commands, exclamations
  • rehearse past and present tense

Poetry: Playtime (1 week)

Stimulus: ‘Playtime’ by Michael Lockwood

Purpose and audience: create a poem to teach your parents about ‘Opal Play’

Key knowledge and skills:

  • perform a poem as part of a group
  • use a pattern from a known poem
  • use synonyms for common verbs

Poetry: Animal Poetry (1 week)

Stimulus: ‘Rathers’ by Mary Hunter Austin

Purpose and Audience: combine art and poetry to create a page for a class book

 Key knowledge and skills:

  • understand that poems can teach us about traditions and cultures
  • retrieve information from a poem
  • use word-play for effect
  • use information in poetry writing

Poetry:  Becoming a Summer (1 week)

Stimulus: ‘Becoming a winter’ by Pie Corbett

Purpose and Audience: perform a poem over images

Key knowledge and skills:

  • describe a closely observed experience
  • use adventurous combinations
  • perform a poem individually

Fiction: Journey stories (4 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘Whatever Wanda Wanted’ by Jude Wisdom

Purpose and audience: To write a journey story and read it to a Year 1 audience

Key knowledge and skills:

  • write sentences that are sequenced  to form a short narrative
  • use co-ordination (and/but)
  • begin to use subordination (because, when)

Non-fiction: Cumulative stories (3 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘Handa’s Surprise’ by Eileen Brown

Purpose and Audience: write a story with a cumulative pattern and publish it on the school website

Key knowledge and skills:

  • understand that stories can teach us about traditions and cultures
  • use a wider range of subordinating conjunctions
  • use suffixes _ment _ness _full _less _ly
  • use new vocabulary drawn from reading

Non-fiction + Fiction: Insects matter (3 weeks)

Stimulus: ‘Bug Hotel’ by Libby Waldon

Purpose and Audience: Build understanding of how important insects are while honing our writing skills.

Key knowledge and skills:

  • ‘read to learn’ about the role insects play in the continued development of life on Earth
  • use appropriate technical vocabulary
  • write clear instructions alongside developing descriptive writing skills

What writing skills and knowledge do we learn about in Year 2?

Sentence Construction



There are two ways that commas can be used in year 2:

 1. To separate items in a list
You will need paper, a ruler, pens, pencils and  a rubber.
The fish kept in the ponds were eels, tench, pike, perch and carp.

2. After -ly openers
Unfortunately, I can't come to dinner.
Suddenly, there was silence.

Click here to try a learning activity.

Exclamation marks

A form of punctuation which indicates an exclamation. These are used to create drama and clarity. 

I can't figure this out!

Click here to try a learning activity.

Apostrophes to mark contractions

Contractions are shortened forms of a group of words.

do not     don't

will not     won't 

is not     isn't

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Speech Marks

Some children may begin to use speech marks for direct speech. 

"Hello," said Sarah.

Word Structure and Language

Use vocabulary appropriate to context

Appropriate vocabulary should be used depending on the context of the piece of writing. This can be developed through:

  • a developing bank of story phrases 

A long, long time ago...
In a faraway land...
Once upon a time...
There once lived...

  • simple but precise technical vocabulary related to the topic

When writing about cooking the following words/phrases may be used: slice of bread, microwave, heat, oven, grill etc...

Increase range of prepositions used

Prepositions are words that describe where thing are. They include words such as:behind, above, along, after, between, before

I sat between Billie and Joe.
Before I go home I will pick up the dry cleaning.

Use a greater range of adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe things. At this stage children are expected to use more adjectives in their writing. 

The enormous lion lunged at the gazelle.
The cave was gloomy.
I sat by the shimmering water. 


Simple expanded noun phrases

Noun phrases are groups of words that work together and contain a noun. An expanded noun phrase add detail

noun phrase - the girl
expanded noun phrase - the tall girl

These can be used in writing to:

  • add more than one adjective 

the gigantic, scary woman

  • add precision

a jam sandwich
the plastic wheel

  • add determiners

more dragons
some flowers

Use a range of pronouns

Pronouns are used to replace a noun. Using pronouns allows there to be less repetition in writing. 

The cat sat on the mat and then the cat ate the cat's dinner.
The cat sat on the mat and then then it ate it's dinner.(with pronouns)

Lucy hated brussel sprouts but Lucy ate them anyway.
Lucy hated brussel sprouts but she ate them anyway.(with pronouns)

Children are expected to use personal pronouns (me, you, him, her, us, them) as well as possessive pronouns (his, her, their, mine, yours).

Adverbial Phrases

An adverbial phrase gives additional information about the action that is being described.

These are used to:

  • say when something is happening

first, next, after that, in the morning, at dinner etc...

  • start a sentence (adverbial starters)

after a while, as soon as, before, immediately, the next day etc...

Greater range of verbs

Using a greater range of verbs can make writing more precise and clear. 

Instead of using 'said' all of the time verbs like shouted, yelled, whispered, screeched tell the reader more about how it was said. This is a good way of making writing more varied and exciting for the reader.

Regular use of past tense

Children should use the past tense regularly and correctly in their writing.

The cat sat on the mat and then goes in the garden. --- Here both past (sat) and present (goes) tenses have been used. 

This needs to be changed so that the sentence is either:

  • present tense

The cat sits on the mat and then goes in the garden.

  • or past tense

The cat sat on the mat and went in the garden.


Generalisers can add a personal voice to a piece of writing or simply generalise about a statement. This can be used to add information.

Some dogs
Most cats


A suffix is a group of letters that are added to the end of a root word to form a derivative of that word.

Use a range of suffixes to make:

  • nouns


  • adjectives


  • comparatives and superlatives


National Curriculum Terminology

  • verb
  • past tense
  • present tense
  • adjective
  • noun
  • suffix
  • apostrophe
  • comma

Text Structure

Plan or orally rehearse 

Before writing it is useful for children to plan and/or rehearse what they are going to write out loud. This enables them to have a clear direction of where their writing is heading before they start. It can help children order their thoughts and this allows their thoughts and creativity to flow more freely onto the page. 

Adverbial Openers

Using adverbial openers in oral and written work adds detail. Adverbials can be single words (adverbs) or phrases (adverbial phrases). When looking to create these it is useful to ask yourself:

  • When? Time connectives

Many years ago...
In the end...

  • Where? Prepositional phrases

Under the bridge...
In the car...
At Tom's house...

  • How? Adverbs


Use past and present tenses consistently 

Children in year 2 should begin to use past and present tenses with some accuracy.

Some irregular past tenses may need to be covered individually as they are a bit more tricky.

catch - caught
creep - crept
find - found
go - went

The Reader

When writing children should think about the reader and what effect their writing may have on them. This may effect their use of vocabulary, punctuation and other literary techniques. 

Language Effects


This is when two or more words in a row begin with the same letter or sound.

Wicked witch
Slimy slugs

Alliteration can also be used to describe.

One wet wellington - although all the words do not begin with the same letter, they do begin with the same sound

Similes using 'like', 'as' and 'than'

A simile is where you compare two different things. In this case 'like', 'as' and 'than' are used. Children can start by using familiar objects and experiences to draw out comparisons.

The ground was hot like fire.
She was singing like an angel.

The fire is as hot as the sun.
Outside it is as wet as the sea.

Heavier than a bucket of bricks.
Brighter than the sun.


Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

Comparative and superlative adjectives can be used for precision and effect. 

Fast - this is an adjective. It describes the speed at which something is travelling.
Faster - this is a comparative adjective. It compares the speed of one thing to another.
Fastest - this is a superlative adjective. Nothing can be faster.

Children can experiment with intensifying adjectives to be more precise and create more drama. 

My dog is fast.
My dog is the faster than a cheetah. 

It was a rainy day.
It was the rainiest day ever. (superlative)

Generalisers for information

Using generaliser in non-fiction writing can help add information. 

Most domestic gods live indoors.

Persuasive Writing

Using strong, positive language and exaggeration can help create a good piece of persuasive writing. It can also make the writing more appealing to the reader. 

We must be allowed to go outside because it is such a beautiful day.

This chocolate bar will be the best you have ever tasted.

If you owned these shoes they would change your life.


Think about the reader!

When writing it is important to consider the effect that the devices that are used have on the reader.

similes - build a picture
aliteration - creates sound effect and makes a phrase memorable

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