Copywork – What’s it All About?
by Betsy Stout at Notebooking Nook
Copywork is exactly what it sounds like... copying! Your child will spend a few minutes each day copying great pieces of work from a wide variety of sources – literature, poetry, scripture, fables, quotes, and so on. While your child is copying these great works, emphasize the importance of using their very best penmanship and making their copy as close to the original as possible. By using this method, your child will see the proper way to punctuate, usage of different parts of speech, as well as capitalization. Basically, they will see how a great piece of literature should look and be written.
Copywork will allow your child to see different writing styles and structure, which in turn, if consistent, will help them become better writers. If your child can manage it, have them look and write the whole word instead of letter by letter, this will assist them in becoming better spellers. My younger children who started out doing copywork from the start are much better writers and spellers. They don't seem to have to work so hard at spelling. My older children who began copywork later struggled a bit more. That’s not to say copywork was a for sure cure for spelling, however, I do believe it helped a lot.
If your child is very young, you can start with the formation of their letters. Spend only as much time as your child can handle doing this. Once this is mastered you will move on to words, sentences, verses and poems. I’ve designed some primary copywork sets that work nicely for practice.
Allow them to illustrate their pages or find pages that are made for copywork practice. Placing these pages in a notebook is a great way to store their work. This allows them to not only be able to show off their beautiful penmanship to grandparents and friends, but also allows both you and your child to see their progression. My kids often like to illustrate or color a picture that goes along with their copywork for the day. Some children enjoy illustrating their own pictures while others enjoy coloring pictures already provided for them. Copywork notebooks allow your child to add any illustration, making them very personal.
Over the years I've done different things to get my children motivated about doing their copywork – I used to keep separate jars with scripture verses, quotes, and poems and they would pull them out and that was their copywork for the day. We still alternate days doing a verse, quote, poem, literature and their choice for each day of the week. However, some selections take more than one day to complete. One bookshelf in my schoolroom is dedicated to keeping books of poetry, fables, quotes and so forth. I also keep a notebook where I continually add verses, poems and quotes to be used for copywork.
In short, if you choose to use this method, you will find that your child will become better at spelling, writing, grammar and penmanship. It is so simple to implement, there really is no reason to not give it a try!
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