A contraction is a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds. In most contractions, an apostrophe represents the missing letters. 


  • Megablocks (any wipeable bricks will do)
  • Whiteboard pen


Why Do We Use Contractions?

We use contractions all the time in normal conversation. When people speak to each other, they will typically use contractions (can’t, won’t, shouldn’t) whenever they can, as doing so saves time.

Some people believe that contractions should never appear in writing, but this belief is mistaken. The use of contractions is directly related to tone.

In informal writing, we often rely on contractions to maintain a colloquial tone. In more formal writing assignments, avoiding contractions is a way of establishing a more serious tone.

Before deciding whether to use contractions in a piece writing, consider your audience and your purpose for writing.

Working out the contraction

To start with, I gave Ioan pairs of bricks, with the two words that were going to be joined together written on. He had to work out, and spell, the contraction.

For example, the first word pair was ‘did not’, which became didn’t.

Then, ‘should not’ became shouldn’t.

I had hidden the contractions on a seat, under the table. Once Ioan had worked out the contraction, I gave him the hidden brick.

Working out the uncontracted form

Next, Ioan was given the contraction and had to work out the uncontracted form.

To consolidate his learning, Ioan matched up the contraction bricks with the uncontracted bricks. As he revisited the spellings throughout the week, he timed himself, then tried to beat his time.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

English Year 2 programme of study

Reading – word reading

  • Pupils should be taught to read further common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word.


  • In contractions, the apostrophe shows where a letter or letters would be if the words were written in full (e.g. can’tcannot).It’s means it is (e.g. It’s raining) or sometimes it has (e.g. It’s been raining), but it’s is never used for the possessive.