Reading, writing and maths

Literacy and numeracy are really important foundation skills for children.

Primary and intermediate schools focus on these because your child needs to have good reading, writing and maths skills to be able to do well in every area of learning at school and in life.

The school assesses your child's reading, writing and maths skills against National Standards. They will report to you twice a year on whether your child has gained the skills needed to meet the standards for their particular year.

Take a look at what your child is expected to be able to do in each year at school. 

After 1 year of school

Year 1 reading

In your child’s first year at school you will become familiar with the reading colour wheel. The wheel is made up of 9 different colours that show your child’s progress on their way to becoming a strong reader. They will begin by reading simple books at the magenta level and progress up through the colours. In their reading they will not just learn to read words but to understand, and talk about the stories they read.

If your child has met the Reading Standard after one year at school they'll be able to:

  • read books at green level on the colour wheel
  • show they have understood the story and talk about what they have read

Year 1 writing

In Year 1 your child will learn to write simple stories on their own. They will learn to plan their writing by talking, or by drawing pictures. Their writing will be for different purposes that cover several areas of the curriculum. For example, they may write about caring for a pet (science) or a report on a visit to a factory (technology). They will be able to read and talk about what they have written.

If your child has met the Writing Standard after one year at school they'll be able to:

  • plan what they want to write by talking, drawing or perhaps writing word ideas
  • write about their experiences and ideas and give information
  • link their story to everyday experiences
  • use many words they know from their reading

Year 1 maths

In Year 1 your child will learn about numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They will learn to count on their fingers and by using objects. They may start to count in their heads and begin to recognise number patterns like 3+2=5.

If your child has met the Mathematics Standard after one year at school they'll be able to:

  • solve maths problems up to 10, then up to 20
  • count forwards and backwards up to 20, then up to 100.
  • know the number before and after any given number
  • explore patterns, shapes and measurement
  • organize and share objects
  • talk about position – eg “I am in front of the tree”, “I am behind you”.
  • ask and answer questions – eg “How many chairs are in the classroom?

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 1 [PDF, 3.5 MB].

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After 2 years of school

Year 2 reading

In your child’s second year at school they'll learn to read longer texts that might include diagrams with labels, some new words and descriptive language. To work out words they don't know they will use what they know about letters and other words in the writing. The stories they read will have a variety of sentence structures. Your child will be taught punctuation with a focus on how it guides the way we use expression, and how it can alter meaning. Your child will be bringing home both fiction and non-fiction books.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard after two years at school they'll be able to:

  • read books at turquoise level on the colour wheel
  • be able to tell things about the story that are hidden or suggested in the text
  • read sentences without big pauses
  • use punctuation to show meaning and add interest
  • notice when they make important mistakes and make an attempt to fix them
  • read silently to themselves
  • tell if a story is real or made up, remember important parts of a story and be able to find parts that answer questions.

Year 2 writing

In Year 2 your child will write simple stories and texts they can use at school and at home. This might include simple instructions, explanations of what happens and the way it happens, simple descriptions of people, or descriptions of things they have done and seen, know about or are have made up. They will learn about punctuation and how to use connecting words (eg “like”, “and”) to join sentences together.

If your child is meeting the Writing Standard after 2 years at school they'll be able to:

  • write texts with a variety of uses such as stories, instructions, lists
  • use punctuation - full stops, question marks and capital letters most of the time
  • spell many words correctly, and try writing new words using what they know about other similar words
  • write several sentences that have different beginnings
  • use connecting words correctly
  • make an attempt at using a variety of adjectives, nouns, and verbs.

Year 2 maths

In Year 2 your child will learn to solve problems using numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They will be counting forwards and backwards in their heads starting from the biggest number, rather than from 1. They may use their fingers to keep track of numbers. Your child will learn to skip count (eg 5, 10, 15, 20) and to work with basic fractions. During your child’s second year at school, most of mathematics teaching time (60–80 per cent) will focus on number learning.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard after two years at school they'll be able to:

  • solve problems using numbers up to 100
  • skip count in 2s, 5s, and 10s, forwards and backwards
  • find ½ and ¼ of simple shapes and sets of objects
  • sort objects into common groups and describe what they have done
  • ask and answer questions and write up what they know
  • give and follow directions
  • measure objects using their hands, feet or a pencil.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 2 [PDF, 3.5 MB]. 

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After 3 years of school

Year 3 reading

In your child’s third year at school they’ll bring home books to read to you that include some places, events, topics and words that will be new to them. Your child will be able to use the pictures and other parts of the book (sub-headings, text boxes, footnotes, glossaries, indexes, diagrams, maps) to work out the meaning. They may also be reading articles about science, art or other curriculum areas – eg about the life cycle of an insect.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard after 3 years at school they'll be able to:

  • read books at gold level on the colour wheel - this is the final stage on the wheel.
  • use the picture or the meaning of the story to work out unfamiliar words, or to understand the meaning
  • notice when they have made a mistake and fix it up, most of the time
  • find information that is clearly stated in the story, as well as some information that is hidden or suggested
  • talk about the meaning of the story and tell you what they have learned from reading about a special topic.

Year 3 writing

In Year 3 your child will be learning to write for a range of different purposes across the curriculum. For example they might write a step by step guide to compost (science) or a report on a visit from a nurse (health). They will be learning about using punctuation in their writing and how to use things like titles, headings and captions.

If your child is meeting the Writing Standard after 3 years at school they'll be able to:

  • think about, record and communicate experiences, ideas and information
  • organise their writing using a basic structure, eg writing a text with a beginning, a middle and an end
  • write mainly simple (and sometimes complex) sentences that have different beginnings and lengths
  • use some words that are specifically about the topic and chosen for the audience
  • often correctly spell words they use, and use what they know about sounds in words to try to work out how to spell unknown words
  • build on their knowledge of punctuation and use it more often.

Year 3 maths

In Year 3 your child will be learning to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They will be learning skills like how to break up numbers and move them around without counting, eg 8 + 5 can be more easily worked out by breaking it up into 8+2+3.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard after three years at school they'll be able to:

  • explore patterns in numbers up to 1,000
  • use their basic facts to solve problems
  • talk about fractions when sharing and exploring shapes and quantities
  • organise objects and talk about what’s different and what’s the same
  • create and describe patterns
  • measure objects and time
  • give and follow directions
  • talk about the reasons why an event is likely to happen or not
  • investigate a topic, display and discuss what they have discovered.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standard. For more information and examples visit the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 3 [PDF, 3.6 MB].

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At the end of year 4

Year 4 reading

In your child’s fourth year at school they’ll be independently reading a range of fiction and non-fiction books. They will use this reading to support their learning in all areas of the curriculum. Their reading material will include some compound and complex sentences, which may consist of 2 or 3 clauses. They’ll also be introduced to figurative language, such as metaphors, similes, and personification.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of year 4 they'll be able to:

  • know what they like to read and be able to choose what’s right for them
  • understand what they are reading and be able to talk about the main ideas, as well as ideas that are not so obvious
  • recognise and understand the information in different kinds of books
  • read smoothly, like talking
  • notice when they make a mistake in their reading and be able to fix it, most of the time
  • read to find out information, like answers to questions.

Year 4 writing

In Year 4 your child will be writing a variety of material to support their learning in all areas of the curriculum. They’ll be writing in simple and compound sentences, and learning to write more complex sentences with more than one clause. They will be learning about nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 4 they'll be able to:

  • use their writing to think about, record and communicate experiences, ideas and information
  • write by themselves for different purposes
  • know that their writing needs to be suited to the people who will read it
  • read and change their writing to improve it, most of the time
  • notice mistakes and correct them in their writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation), most of the time
  • publish their writing in a variety of ways including using computers, cameras, illustrations, and diagrams.

Year 4 maths

In Year 4 your child will continue to learn to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They’ll learn about solving problems by using basic addition, subtraction and simple multiplication facts.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard at the end of Year 4 they'll be able to:

  • work with numbers up to 1,000
  • use their knowledge of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 times tables to solve problems
  • find fractions of sets, shapes and quantities
  • make and continue patterns and explain the rule for the pattern
  • sort objects and describe how they have been grouped (eg shape and size)
  • choose how you can best measure length, area, volume, capacity, weight, temperature and time
  • use simple maps to show position and direction
  • talk about events that will or will not happen
  • make up questions to investigate then graph and discuss their findings.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 4 [PDF, 3.6 MB].

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At the end of year 5

Year 5 reading

In your child’s fifth year at school they will be reading and learning to understand a variety of fiction and non-fiction stories. Texts will include more abstract ideas and figurative language, longer sentences with multiple clauses, different text types, and a significant number of words that are likely to be unfamiliar to your child.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 5 they'll be able to:

  • read for longer periods of time
  • choose stories that support their learning and choose stories to read for fun
  • choose what reading skills they use when they have difficulties and when they are reading harder stories eg re-reading parts they don’t understand
  • work out the words they don’t know by looking at the surrounding words, pictures or other clues
  • understand and discuss the different levels of meaning a story can have eg understand hidden meanings
  • read different stories about the same topic, and be able to pull this information together to express an idea, or write on a topic
  • ask and answer questions about things that they read
  • discuss the way authors have made choices when writing – about the words, places, characters and ideas the authors have chosen.

Year 5 writing

In Year 5 your child will continue to learn to think about, record, and communicate their experiences and ideas in their writing. Ideas for writing may come from talking, listening and reading about topics in all areas of the curriculum.

If your child is meeting the Writing Standard at the end of Year 5 they'll be able to:

  • use different ways to think about, plan and organise their writing
  • use words and phrases that are suitable for the topic and audience
  • choose the best way to express their message or ideas in writing
  • use detail to support their main ideas and paragraphs to group their ideas
  • improve the clarity and impact of their writing, especially after feedback from others
  • check their own writing for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • choose the best way to publish their writing, including digitally, print, charts and diagrams.

Year 5 maths

In Year 5 your child will be learning to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They will be solving problems involving several steps, including choosing the best method. They will be learning that there are often several ways that a problem can be solved.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard at the end of Year 5 they'll be able to:

  • choose an appropriate method to solve problems (using +, – , x , ÷) and clearly explain their methods to other people
  • use their known basic facts to work out unknown facts and to find fractions of sets, shapes and quantities
  • sort 2D and 3D shapes and justify how they have been grouped
  • use grid references on maps and points of the compass to describe the location of objects
  • measure the size and capacity of objects
  • explore the concept of chance by listing all of the possible outcomes
  • investigate questions, show the information and discuss the data.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 5 [PDF, 3.5 MB].

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At the end of year 6

Year 6 reading

In your child’s sixth year at school they’ll be reading non-fiction books, chapter books, magazines and information on the computer. They’ll be reading these kinds of stories in all areas of the curriculum.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 6 they'll be able to:

  • read longer stories more quickly, and read for longer periods of time
  • find information and ideas easily in the story, as well as information that is more hidden – using clues in the story and what they already know
  • work out words they don’t know the meaning of by using clues in the story or pictures and diagrams
  • quickly find important ideas and information by ‘skimming’ and ‘scanning’ (eg using sub-headings, key words or first sentences in paragraphs)
  • know they sometimes need to read from several sources of information (books, magazines, the internet) to get all the information they need for their work.

Year 6 writing

In Year 6 your child’s writing will continue to describe their own experiences and ideas and to show how they are thinking about these. Ideas for writing may come from talking, listening and reading about topics in all areas of the curriculum.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 6 they'll be able to:

  • choose the type of writing to suit the audience
  • plan what they will write in different ways
  • organise their writing logically using paragraphs as well as other features like headings, sub-headings, diagrams, pictures and captions
  • choose words carefully to suit the topic or purpose and to make people want to read their writing
  • check their writing to make sure it makes sense
  • spell most words correctly and use appropriate punctuation.

Year 6 maths

In Year 6 your child will continue to learn to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They’ll be solving problems involving several steps and which require them to choose the most appropriate method. They will be learning a range of approaches to solve problems and will be able to make general statements about numbers and patterns.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard at the end of Year 6 they'll be able to:

  • solve problems (using +, – , x , ÷) that require them to choose the best method
  • use repeated halving or known multiplication facts to solve problems involving fractions
  • find the value of a given number in a pattern
  • sort, create and identify 2D and 3D shapes
  • measure time and find the area and volume of objects
  • use grid references on maps and points of the compass to give directions
  • draw objects from different view points
  • explain results of investigations by identifying patterns
  • experiment to work out the likelihood of an event happening.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 6 [PDF, 4 MB].

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At the end of year 7

Year 7 reading

In your child’s seventh year at school they’ll be learning to find, think about, and bring together information and ideas within and across a range of books and articles. As they do this they’ll be able to think of their own questions and be able to answer questions they are asked across all curriculum areas.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 7 they'll be able to:

  • read a wide range of stories including both fiction and non-fiction, and with a number of layers of meaning including complicated plots, difficult themes and ideas
  • recognise most words automatically and work out more difficult words using a range of strategies. For example, letter-sound knowledge, using what they know about parts of words and letter patterns
  • choose the best strategy – from a whole range they know – to help them understand what they’re reading
  • recognise and use features of grammar to support understanding of more difficult words
  • use their judgment to work out their personal response to what they are reading and think about the strengths and weaknesses of what they are reading.

Year 7 writing

In Year 7 your child will continue to use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

If your child is meeting the Writing Standard at the end of Year 7 they'll be able to:

  • write for particular audiences and purposes using appropriate, clear and logical structures
  • carefully plan their writing projects using a variety of strategies
  • use paragraphs that contain clearly related ideas.
  • write in grammatically correct sentences using a range of language features and complex punctuation; eg rhetorical questions, metaphors, semicolons
  • use correctly-spelt words, using a range of strategies. For example, letter-sound knowledge, spelling rules and conventions, meaning and spelling of word parts and word origins, letter patterns
  • show they are revising and editing as well as proof-reading as they write.

Year 7 maths

In Year 7 your child will continue to learn to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They’ll be solving problems using multiplication and division that use decimals, fractions and percentages. They will have a range of thinking strategies to help them investigate mathematics.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard at the end of Year 7 they'll be able to:

  • solve problems involving decimals, using addition and subtraction
  • use a range of multiplication methods to solve problems using whole numbers and fractions
  • investigate and justify mathematical rules to see if they are always true
  • create tables, graphs and rules for repeating patterns
  • sort 2D and 3D shapes and discuss their similarities and differences
  • measure time and objects using standard measures
  • find perimeters, areas and volumes of shapes
  • identify and describe how objects have been moved within patterns
  • use grid references, simple scales, and points of the compass to describe a given location
  • investigate, sort and display information in different ways and identify patterns and variations in the information
  • explore probability through experimenting and comparing actual results with expected results.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 7 [PDF, 4 MB].

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At the end of year 8

Year 8 reading

In your child’s eighth year at school they’ll be learning to find, think about, and bring together information and ideas within and across a range of books, stories and articles. As they do this they’ll be able to ask and answer questions across all curriculum areas.

If your child is meeting the Reading Standard at the end of Year 8 they'll be able to:

  • read books with pictures, photos, boxes, diagrams, maps, charts, and graphs that relate to the story’s content.
  • read books that need explanation, such as complicated plots, high-level (teenage) themes, and abstract (nonconcrete) ideas
  • choose the right skills and technologies (eg the internet) to locate and use a range of stories for particular purposes across the curriculum; eg reading to find out information on a science or social studies topic
  • use a growing range of strategies to help them when they don’t understand what they are reading
  • work out more difficult words by using a range of skills.
  • You may notice that the books your child is reading in Years 7 and 8 are sometimes the same. Your child will be doing more complex tasks with these books in Year 8.

Year 8 writing

In Year 8 your child will continue to use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

If your child is meeting the Writing Standard at the end of Year 8 they'll be able to:

  • write on their own, choosing language and a clear and logical structure that fits the purpose for writing
  • use information they have found through reading, to write in their own words about a topic or theme
  • write stories that are clear, short and fit the curriculum task – often including detail and/or comment supporting or explaining the main points
  • create paragraphs where the ideas are clearly related and link to other paragraphs
  • use complex sentences that are grammatically correct
  • use basic punctuation correctly and attempt to use some complex punctuation; eg semicolons, colons, brackets
  • use words and phrases that fit the topic, audience, occasion and purpose
  • understand that they are writing for a variety of purposes and know how to do this.

Year 8 maths

In Year 8 your child will continue to learn to solve realistic problems using their growing understanding of numbers, algebra (symbols), geometry (shapes), measurement and statistics. They’ll be able to use multiplication strategies to solve problems using fractions, decimals and percentages. They will be able explain different ways to solve problems and will have a range of thinking strategies to help them to investigate mathematics.

If your child is meeting the Mathematics Standard at the end of Year 8 they'll be able to:

  • solve problems with decimals and integers using addition and subtraction
  • use a range of multiplication methods to solve problems with whole numbers and fractions
  • create and use tables, graphs and rules to show linear and non-linear relationships
  • measure objects and make simple conversions between units of measure
  • find perimeters and areas of rectangles, parallelograms, triangles and volumes of cuboids
  • explore transformation and discuss how shapes and patterns change after a transformation
  • describe locations and give directions
  • use scales, bearings and co-ordinates
  • gather and use data that gives several pieces of information (eg age and size)
  • sort data and display in different ways, and discuss patterns and trends
  • use fractions to discuss the likelihoods of outcomes involving chance.

These are only some of the skills your child needs to meet the standards. For more information and examples go to the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Read the booklet Supporting your child's learning - year 8 [PDF, 3.4 MB].

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