Helping your child with Writing

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Grammar Guide

Punctuation Guide

How we teach writing...

At Blackhorse we use a variety of ways to help children become good writers, but the main 3 are: Big Writing, Talk for Writing and Assessment for Learning. Below is a brief guide to these strategies so that you can help your child at home:

Big Writing:

Big Writing is a method used at Blackhorse to teach children 4 fundamental aspects of writing: Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation (or VCOP for short).

For ten minutes every day, the children take part in a 10 minute VCOP lesson where they play games and practise sentence writing which aims to strengthen one of these 4 areas.


In school we often discuss 'Wow Words'; higher level vocabulary which improves writing. Children are taught to 'steal' wow words from a sotry or text which they are reading which are then displayed in the classroom. During the week the children practise using these words during their 10 minute VCOP lessons so that, when they come to write independently, they choose more adventureous vocabulary. The video below explains this in more detail:


Connectives are the words used to link simple phrases (or clauses) together to make longer, more grammatically complex sentences. Once a child is able to use a wide range of these words the quality of their writing improves. Teachers spend a lot of time teaching children how to construct grammatically complex sentences - often using The Blackhorse Sentence Cycle as a way of ensuring children understand that all sentences have a subject and object. 

In every class is a Connectives Pyramid like the one above which shows the increasing complexity of connectives. Children are challenged to use the more complex connectives towards the bottom of the pyramid. 


A simple technique used by teachers to encourage a wider range of sentence types is the Sentence Opener Pyramid (above). This is used to show the children different ways to start a sentence.


The Punctation Pyramid (above) is used to teach children about the different types of punctuation at each National Curriculum level. A variety of games are used to teach children how to use all the different types of punctuation.

Need to brush up on your Grammar knowledge? Click here for a guide.