What is Copywork?
Copywork is a learning practice where you learn skills by copying a selected passage by hand. The passage can come from a variety of sources and can easily be tailored to individual interests. This practice not only teaches necessary life skills such as handwriting and spelling, but it also allows your student to experience different writing styles and techniques.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, the value of writing by hand is often questioned. Although copywork is frequently criticized as being old-fashioned, it’s still relevant in the modern classroom.
4 Benefits of Copywork
Instructors have seen several notable benefits from using copywork with their students, including:
1. Muscle Memory
The physical act of writing stimulates muscle memory and helps students transfer letter formation and spelling into their long-term memory.
2. Attention to Details
Copywork requires close attention to details, such as spelling and punctuation, that may be ignored when reading through a passage quickly.
Writing by hand has been shown to engage parts of the brain involved in learning and memory, which helps students remember the main ideas and details in the passage.
4. Composition Skills
Reading and copying good literature familiarizes students with grammar principles and other key aspects of effective writing. This often leads to an improvement in their own composition skills.
5 Tips for Good Copywork
Are you ready to get started with copywork to reap these benefits with your students? Here are five considerations for a successful copywork experience.
1. Keep It Interesting
Choose well-written content that’s interesting and relevant to the student.
2. Keep It Short
Keep each session short so that it doesn’t become physically or mentally stressful for the student. Some educators recommend limiting the time spent on one session to ten minutes.
3. Make It Easy
Present the material in a format that’s easy to copy. For young children, it’s most effective to have each line of text presented just above the handwriting lines. Additionally, be sure that the text is clear and easy to read.
4. Know Your Goal
If you’re using copywork to practice spelling, it’s probably not the best time to focus on handwriting skills. On the other hand, if you’re using copywork specifically for handwriting practice, it’s very important to keep the passage short so the student can focus on careful letter formation without becoming fatigued.
5. Highlight Correct Use
Use copywork to emphasize the correct usage of language skills you’re currently studying. This could include spelling, punctuation, or advanced composition skills.
If you’re interested in trying copywork, Walking by the Way has a helpful blog post with a list of free pages that you can use with your students.
Free Copywork Pages for Your Homeschool
Rebecca Spooner from Hip Homeschooling also has a blog post that outlines how she uses it to teach her five children.
How I Use Copywork To Teach Language Arts
Copywork and Spelling You See
There are a number of homeschooling curriculums that incorporate copywork in some form. One example is Spelling You See. This unique approach to spelling uses copywork to help students retain the spelling of everyday words in their long-term memories.
If you’d like to learn more about Spelling You See, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We want you and your student to be successful in your spelling journey.Get in Touch
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Kim Brooks says
Thank you forbthis blog post. I have tried incorporating copy work into our lessons but now see I was doing a few things wrong. First selecting a page of a book and telling my child to copy a few sentences (not clear what to copy) and secondly the source had nothing to do with the other subjects we were using (or it was just for discipline sake, not entirely wrong but doesn’t encourage a love of learning). I was thinking how will I add copy work this year in a positive light? Answer, I’ve already received our Spelling You See materials for this year which we will be using for the the first time ever. So glad Demme Learning put it right in there for me. Thank you. Not sure about my kids, but I’m so excited to get started!