The Beginner’s Guide to Year 6 English

Welcome to our Beginner's Guide to Year 6 English. We've written this guide to help all Year 6 develop the necessary skills to ace High School English.

An overview of The Beginner’s Guide to Year 6 English

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Year 6 English.

In this Guide, we will show you all the skills that you need to develop in year 6 so that you can succeed in High School English.

It is very important that you don’t neglect your final year of Primary School because High School English is a great jump from Primary School. It is much more challenging.

So, let’s take hold of our learning and prepare ourselves for High School!


What is in this guide?

The Beginner’s Guide to Year 6 English explains important skills that Year 6 students need to ace High School English and provide step-by-step explanations to achieve this.

Let’s take a look at the articles we’ve included:


This Guide includes the following articles:

  • Part 1: Grammatical Mistakes Year 6 Students Need to Fix Before High School
  • Part 2: Crucial Comprehension Skills Year 6 Students Need For High School
  • Part 3: Why Year 6 Students Should Use a Reading Journal
  • Part 4: How to Write a Year 6 Creative in 8 Steps
  • Part 5: How to Write a Year 6 Extended Response in 6 Steps

english guide to year 6 english picture of a sunset symbolising the transition from year 6 to high school

How will the Beginner’s Guide to year 6 English prepare me for High School?

This guide is written for both parents and students!

It will provide you with very important information to improve your English skills in Year 6 and prepare yourself for High School English.


What is English in Year 6 (Stage 3)?

As you progress through your school years, you study different stages of English.

For example, Stage 2 includes Years 3 & 4, whereas Stage 4 includes Years 7 & 8.

In Year 6, you are studying Stage 3 English. The skills you learn in this Stage are very important as they form the foundations for High School English.


What is Stage 3 English?

Stage 3 English is the final Stage before High School and marks the halfway point in a child’s education.

The aim of stage 3 is to help students gain the fundamental skills needed to prepare them for the challenges of High School English.

In this Stage, students learn to communicate effectively by thinking about language specific to a text and their purpose. They need to be able to think deeply about the texts they read and watch and be able to express these thoughts and ideas

Stage 3 English also requires students to read and view a variety of complex texts, including books, visual images and films. Students must summarise these texts, identify and analyse techniques and explore themes and ideas.

Additionally, students studying Stage 3 English need to be able to present their ideas in written and imaginative ways. This means that they can write creatives and extended responses.



What to expect in Year 6 English

Can you kick back in Year 6?

No. Just because Year 6 is your last year in Primary School doesn’t mean that it’s your chill year!

in fact, Year 6 is the year where you work hardest to develop and improve your English skills to prepare for High School!


So, what does Year 6 English involve?

Let’s take a closer look at these aspects of Year 6 English and why they will give you a better sense of what is expected from you in Stage 4 English.



By Year 6, you should be reading everyday for fun!

Students should aim to read at lead 10-30 minutes every day.

If you are struggling to find the time in one block, break your reading time into chunks!

Read for 15 minutes on your bus ride to school and another 10 minutes before bed. That’s 25 minutes in total!

This is a very important habit because it helps you develop your comprehension skills, improve your vocabulary and you can also quickly identify techniques!

These are all very important foundational skills for High School.



You should always be learning more words and expanding their vocabulary.

And one sure way of doing this is reading more!

But why is vocabulary so important?

We go through the 7 Reasons To Boost Your Vocabulary in our Blog Post. But here’s a quick summary.

Having a wide vocabulary helps you: 

  1. Communicate ideas better
  2. Learn new words easier (like building a muscle!)
  3. Improve comprehension
  4. Read more complex texts
  5. Increase confidence
  6. Help learn other subjects
  7. And, succeed in the NAPLAN Test next year!



Having strong comprehension skills is very important for High School English success.

Comprehension skills allow us to read information and dissect it for meaning before communicating the meaning to others.

These comprehension skills form the building blocks for analysing the texts and writing essays!

Many students (and their parents) take comprehension skills for granted. They often don’t realise that half of one of the HSC English exams – Paper 1: Common Module – is a comprehension paper.

We go through the 4 Common Comprehension Mistakes You Mustn’t Make in our blog post. Here’s a quick summary.

To improve your comprehension skills, you need to: 

  1. Actively read
  2. Read your texts out loud
  3. Summarise the text
  4. Ask questions about your texts


Literary Techniques

In Year 6, you begin to look at literary techniques to find meaning.

Techniques are language devices that composers use to create a text and convey their meaning.


For example, “Her cheeks turned as red as an apple” is a simile. Now, compare the simile with “Her cheeks turned red”.

Which one has a larger effect on the reader?

The simile of course!


As you can see, techniques convey meaning in a more effective way. In this case, the simile creates a stronger visual image.

In High School, you will be expected unpack a text in this manner and look for obvious and abstract techniques! So, it is important that you begin building a habit out of identifying techniques early on!



In Year 6, you should be developing a fluent writing style. You need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly and in an organised way.

Your sentences are well structured, paragraphs are organised, and you select specific word choices to convey a particular meaning.

It is important that you are consistently writing to improve your writing skills.

You also need to be able to write in a variety of forms such as:

  • Creatives
  • Extended responses
  • Informative pieces
  • Letters
  • Reviews
  • Speeches
  • And many more!


Drafting and editing

In Year 6, it is especially important that you begin to draft and edit your work.

These steps ensure that your writing is the best it can be!

As you’ve already learned in years 2 and 3, drafting is the process that begins with putting your ideas into words and simply writing through to revising it so it is a finished product.

A first draft is obviously the first version of your writing, but you must get into the habit of producing second, and even third, drafts before putting together a final draft for submission.

To produce the 1st draft you need to: 

  • Don’t overthink and just start writing
  • Don’t stop to edit… write everything down first!
  • If you are stuck, just start writing another part and return back to it later


Editing is the process of reviewing over your work and tidying it up!

To edit, you need to: 

  • Fix grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors
  • Reword and rewrite sentences and paragraphs
  • Make sure everything makes sense



Reflection is what differentiates Stage 4 from Stage 4 students.

Self-reflection is when you look back at your work and think about:

  • What was easy?
  • What was difficult?
  • What were your strengths?
  • What were your weaknesses?
  • How can you improve?

By beginning to self-reflect, you are building good habits for High School English.

Self-reflection is a crucial first step for improving your writing.

guide to year 6 english image of a girl reading

A list of Stage 3 English skills

Now we’ve looked at what you’ll do in Year 6 to prepare for Year 7, let’s look at the skills you’ll need.


What skills will Year 6 students need?

These are the skills that Year 6 students should already be confident with:

  • Listening
  • Comprehension
  • The ability to identify patterns and language features
  • Confidence reading independently
  • Spelling familiar and unfamiliar words
  • Writing simple and complex sentences
  • Structuring their writing using paragraphs
  • Knowledge of grammatical rules.


What skills will students develop?

In Year 6, students will:

  • Think about the purpose behind language features
  • Express well-organised ideas
  • Read a wide range of complex texts
  • Be exposed to a variety of different text types
  • Explore themes, and complex ideas in texts
  • Expand their vocabulary
  • Write well-structured sentences and paragraphs
  • Evaluate their own writing.


How does this relate to NESA’s Stage 3 Outcomes?

Students studying each Stage of English will have to meet a set of NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) defined outcomes if they want to succeed.

These NESA Stage Outcomes are outlined on the NESA website.

You can also find the Stage 3 English Syllabus on the NESA website, too.


What are Stage 4 Outcomes?

The Stage 4 syllabus is broken down into different learning areas. These learning areas have a list of outcomes that students must learn and achieve.

Essentially, teachers need to teach these outcomes for students and ensure that they satisfy the outcome.

Let’s see what the Outcomes are.


Stage 3 Outcomes

The NESA outcomes expect that “[t]hrough responding to and composing a wide range of texts and through the close study of texts, students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills”.

They break these down further:

Table: breakdown of NESA Stage 3 outcomes
NESA OutcomeWhat this means
A. Communicate through speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing

  • Communicates effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues and language forms and features EN3-1A
  • Uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies EN3-3A
  • Composes edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts EN3-2A
  • Draws on appropriate strategies to accurately spell familiar and unfamiliar words when composing texts EN3-4A
You’ll need to learn how to:

  • Read, understand and interpret complex ideas and be able to communicate these to others
  • be confident engaging with a wide variety of texts across different mediums from digital to print to stage and film.
  • Compose your own well-structured and engaging pieces of writing
  • Know the strategies for spelling different words that you haven’t encountered before.
B. Use language to shape and make meaning according to purpose, audience and context

  • Discusses how language is used to achieve a widening range of purposes for a widening range of audiences and contexts EN3-5B
  • Uses knowledge of sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary to respond to and compose clear and cohesive texts in different media and technologies EN-36B
You’ll need to know how to:

  • Write for others in an appropriate manner depending on the medium and purpose of the text.
C. Think in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive and critical

  • Thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information and ideas and identifies connections between texts when responding to and composing texts EN3-7C
You’ll need to have the ability to:

  • Think creatively and critically to solve problems and process information
  • Make connections between the texts.
D. express themselves and their relationships with others and their world

  • Identifies and considers how different viewpoints of their world, including aspects of culture, are represented in texts EN3-8D
You’ll need to be confident:

  • Understanding and discussing your place in the world and relationship with others
  • Relating to, and considering how, different perspectives o the world – including things like religion, language, and culture – are represented and explored in texts.
E. Learn and reflect on their learning through their study of English

  • Recognises, reflects on and assesses their strengths as a learner EN-39E
You’ll learn the importance of self-reflection.

it is important you develop the skills to identify your weaknesses and strengths in English so you can develop as both a learner and a writer.


How will Year 7 English differ from Primary School English?

Once you enter High School English, you will find that everything is much more complex and challenging.

Here are some of the major differences between Primary and High School:

  • More independence, control and responsibility for studying
  • Needs to analyse texts
  • Needs to write in more complex paragraphs and essays
  • Texts are much more challenging to read and explore deeper themes
  • Need to be able to identify abstract techniques and see how it creates meaning


As you can see, the skills that we will go through in our Beginner’s Guide to Year 6 English will help you achieve all the dot points above.

Think of it as a stepping stone to more challenging English!

© Matrix Education and, 2023. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related courses