Information for Parents – VCOPS


At Pennard  we use VCOPS to help your child with their writing. Read on to find more!

PictureV is Vocabulary

  • Vocabulary  has the power to help people really see how things look.
  • It holds the secret of how characters and places really feel. 
  • Although words for sights and sounds are good they are very important to help explain taste, touch, smell and feelings too.
  • We learn how to pick just the right nouns or verbs to give writing real power over a reader.
  • We learn how to use the right adjectives and adverbs to hypnotise people into really seeing and feeling a piece of writing.

Noun –   A word that names a person, place or thing: The tired, scaredboy trudged slowly through the thick mud.
Adjective –    A word used to describe a person, place or thing: Thetired, scared boy trudged slowly through the thick mud.
– A word to describe action; what is happening in the sentence: The tired, scared boy trudged slowly through the thick mud. 
-A word to describe how the action is taking place: The tired, scared boy  trudged slowly through the thick mud.

PictureC is Connectives

  • Connectives help us link ideas together.
  • Without them our writing can be repetitive and boring.
  • Connectives give us opportunity to add more detail to a sentence, but they don’t always appear in the middle of sentences!

PictureO is Openers

  • Openers help us add structure and interest to our writing,  their job is to hook the reader in and keep them reading. We can start sentences in lots of different ways.
  • Sometimes – they jump up and tells the reader when something is happening.
  • First – they can tell when something happened.
  • Tumbling, Screaming – fantastic verb openers
  • Suddenly,Crazily – great adverb openers. 
  • Dangerous, dark and damp – amazing adjective openers.
  • Although – can be a link between ideas at the beginning of a sentence too.
  • Alternatively, they can be used to express an opposite idea.  
  • On dark, windy nights, when even the wolves stay in their dens, – sometimes they can be a whole phrase!
  • Click here to find more ways to open a sentence

PictureP is Punctuation 

  • Punctuation helps us start and stop a sentence. If capital letters and full stops are missing, or in the wrong place, writing is weak. It will not have the power to grab a reader!
  • We also use commas to separate ideas. They work well when combined with connectives and openers.  
  • Yes! We use exclamation marks for emphasis!
  • We can reveal what characters actually say with speech marks.
  • Do we ask questions?  Of course, it’s a great weapon for hooking a reader.
Helping your child with V.C.O.P at home.

V– Vocabulary (Wow words!)
• Talk about and write down interesting (Wow) words in the stories you are reading at home.
• Try using the words you have found in a sentence.
• Have a mini-quiz: ‘How many words can you think of instead of ‘said’?’ or ‘went’, ‘nice’, ‘good’. Put each one in a sentence.
• Give your child a Wow word to put into a sentence. How many different sentences can they make?
• Give your child two different words and ask them to make different sentences from them. E.g.: ‘magical’ and ‘boy’.
• Remind them that they should use all their VCOPS skills when writing these sentences!

Connectives are used to join sentences together. The simplest connective to use is ‘and’, as in: Bill went to the shops and he bought an ice-cream.
• Try to search for connectives in the stories you read at home. Use them in a different sentence.
• Try rearranging sentences with the connectives at the start. E.g. The little boy shivered despite it being warm in the cave. – Despite it being warm in the cave the little boy shivered.
• Give your child a connective and ask them to use it in a sentence.

O– Opener
An opener is the first word used in a sentence. When children start on their writing journey most sentences initially begin with ‘I’. To develop this try:
• Searching for openers in the stories you read at home and use them to start your own sentences.
• Give your child an opener and ask them to complete the sentence.

P– Punctuation
• Look at different types of punctuation in your reading at home.
• Ask your child to give examples of when they would use a ? or ! or . or , – use the punctuation pyramid.
• Use different types of punctuation in different sentences.

Look below to find out more