Why Copy Work?

Children who are struggling with foundational literacy skills will most often than not need to go right back to the basics of language. “Copy work” is a tested method of helping students to focus on elements of language.

Another term used for Copy Work is Transcription. Copy work involves students being presented with portions of quality literature to copy or transcribe. During copywork, a child copies a passage word for word, referring back to the original as often as necessary to make sure the reproduction is identical to the original.Students are required to sit back and note the small details of language. The mechanics of the written language such as spelling, punctuation,phonics, grammar are all focused on by this simple literacy activity.

Did you know some of the greatest writers in the English language developed their writing skills through copywork and narration. Neither Shakespeare nor Jane Austen ever enrolled in a creative writing course; Dickens never studied journalism; Robert Louis Stevenson did not take classes in How to Write for Children (or for anyone else, for that matter)! Living before the invention of photocopy machines and computers, anything they wanted to keep a written record of, had to be copied down by hand: so copywork was a normal part of everyday life. Our children obviously live in a different age, but if we hope for them to become great writers, we can do no better than provide them with the same kind of training as these, and other, writers of the past.

Benefits of Copy Work

Copywork ia a Literacy Skills Workout

Copywork deals with almost every aspect of language arts development. It works in a beautifully subtle way.The bottom line is that an understanding of the English language — all parts of it– seeps into the student as he copies the passages.

1. Spelling

Careful attention to copying the spellings of words will help develop correct spelling patterns in your homeschooled student.

2. Grammar

A student will likely be copying grammatical structures that he has not yet formally studied. And that’s great! Without any formal instruction, the correct grammatical patterns she transcribes will become natural usage for her.

3. Punctuation

Who doesn’t struggle occasionally with comma or semicolon rules? The beauty of copywork is that your child is repeatedly exposed to excellent punctuation that will slowly become second nature.

4. Vocabulary

The rich vocabulary used in the hymns, scripture, poetry, and quotations that you select will be a benefit to your child. Research shows that most students need repeated exposure to a new vocabulary word, used in context before they can make it their own and use it.

5. Composition

The entire writing process benefits from the use of copywork. Besides the elements listed in numbers one through four, the more global elements of composition such as parallelism, style, organization, and literary devices are exemplified in copywork passages. Exposure to great examples helps children have models for their own writing.

Advantages of Using Copywork

1 Inexpensive and simple to implement

All you need is paper, pencils, and some great thoughts to copy.

2. Can lead to dictation

Once children are skillfully transcribing great passages, you can move into dictation where you read the passage out loud for them to write.

3. Can be used at any grade level

As soon as a child can write, he can begin to do simple copywork. Even single words are acceptable for the very youngest students. It is important to keep introducing Copy Work throughout every school year. It is simple to do and highly effective. High school students can copy larger passages taken from the literature or history they are studying.