Grade 4 Spelling

Discover Grade 4 spelling standards

Children are expected to spell words that are grade-appropriate correctly once they reach Grade 4. The strategies learned in previous first grade to third grade should be consistently applied to support accurate spelling. In addition to these strategies, fourth graders should focus on correctly spelling commonly confused words, known as homophones. Grade 4 also covers spelling words that include silent letters, and broadening knowledge and use of prefixes and suffixes.

Keep reading to learn how you can help your fourth grader improve their spelling skills.


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 confidence when attempting to spell new words.

Here’s a spelling list 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.

Share the list below with your fourth grader for spelling practice:

  • 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’s a longer spelling list of homophones:

  • 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:

Boost your fourth grader’s spelling practice by using images to support your child when learning homophones. For example, in this Night Zookeeper game, children have to identify the correct spelling for the meaning of the word shown in the picture.

Homophone game on, displayed on tablet screen.

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 grader will need to know:

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

Using a dictionary and thesaurus

Your child is expected to stretch their fourth grade 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 academic vocabulary, using their basic knowledge of the specific word, such as the opening two or three letters.

Grade 4 Spelling Words

Access our list of Grade 4 spelling words below:

How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Night Zookeeper is a language arts program created to help children in Grades 1 to 6 improve their reading and writing, with an emphasis on boosting grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills. Whether used as a supplemental spelling resource or as your homeschool language arts curriculum, Night Zookeeper can support you and your child through their learning journey in a variety of ways!

Our award-winning educational content has been developed by experts to make learning fantastically fun for even the most reluctant readers and writers! When it comes to teaching spelling, our diverse range of activities include:

  • Word games to help consolidate your child’s knowledge of topics such as sight words and phonics
  • Reading comprehension lessons to teach them about context
  • Printable spelling worksheets for on-the-go learning

Sign up today to instantly boost your fourth-grader’s spelling skills and get a FREE 7-day trial!

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