Grade 4 Spelling

Discover Grade 4 spelling standards

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Children are expected to spell grade-appropriate words correctly once they reach Grade 4. The strategies learned in previous grades (spelling patterns, word families, syllable patterns, position-based spellings, ending rules, meaningful word parts) should be consistently applied to support accurate spelling. In addition to these strategies, children should focus on correctly spelling commonly confused words, also known as homophones. Grade 4 also covers how to spell words that include silent letters, and broadening knowledge and use of prefixes and suffixes. This article will guide you through these concepts so that you can provide guidance and assistance to your fourth-grade child.


Suffixes are morphemes (groups of letters that can have a meaning on their own) that can be added to the end of a root word. This can sometimes change the meaning of a root word. Knowing a wide range of suffix spellings can really help children to develop a confidence when attempting to spell new words. Here are some examples of suffixes that children will use in fourth grade:

  • -cious (vicious, conscious, malicious, suspicious)
  • -tious (ambitious, cautious, nutritious, contentious)
  • -cial (official, social, crucial, special, superficial)
  • -tial (partial, essential, residential, influential)


Prefixes are similar to suffixes, but are added to the beginning of a root word. A prefix, just like a suffix, can change the meaning of the root word. There are a wealth of prefixes that fourth-grade children can learn to improve their overall spelling skills. Here are just a few that you can practice with your child:

  • under- (understand, underdog, underfoot, underestimate)
  • over- (overkill, override, overachieve, overhaul)
  • pre- (precise, prejudice, prepare, preview)


Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings or spellings.





Here are a few more examples:

  • seam/ seem
  • feet/ feat
  • steal/ steel
  • flea/ flee
  • male/ mail
  • plain/ plane
  • vane/ vain
  • pair/ pare/ pear
  • there/ their
  • to/ too/ two
  • brake/ break
  • flew/ flu
  • stare/ stair
  • loan/ lone
  • weak/ week
  • heal/ heel

Practice Tip: Use images to help support your child when practising with homophones. For example, in this game, children have to identify the correct spelling for the meaning of the word shown by the picture.

Matching words game

Silent Letters Words

In fourth grade, children will discover more words that include silent letters. These are sometimes difficult words for children to spell as the letters aren't phonetically pronounced when the word is spoken aloud.

Here are some examples of words that include silent letters that your fourth-grade child will need to know:

  • lamb
  • thistle
  • knight
  • island
  • anchor
  • chorus
  • conscious

Using a dictionary and thesaurus

In Grade 4, your child will be expected to stretch their vocabulary by using a dictionary and thesaurus on a regular basis. They should know how to look for synonyms (similar words) and antonyms (opposites) and ensure that they spell them correctly when using them in their articles and stories. Fourth-grade children should also know how to quickly look up the spelling of new words, using their basic knowledge of the word, such as the opening two or three letters.

How Night Zookeeper can help

On, fourth-grade children have a wealth of opportunities to practice their spelling skills. There are dedicated spelling games and challenges designed to target common spelling errors, whilst also teaching children how to use new spelling patterns at this level. There are also a great many opportunities for children to put their spelling skills into practice as they write articles and stories on their Night Zookeeper account. teaches children a concise list of fourth-grade level words, which you can download below.

Age 9-10 word lists

Related articles:

Grade 4 Reading

Grade 4 Writing

Grade 4 Grammar

Grade 4 Punctuation

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