Benefits of Copywork

Busy at Work
Busy at Work | Source

Why Use Copywork?

Copywork, also called transcription, is a common homeschool assignment among Charlotte Mason and classical homeschoolers.

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.

The simplicity of copywork hides the plethora of benefits that this learning method offers.

General Benefits of Copywork


1. attention to detail

Because copywork should be an exact reproduction of the original passage in all aspects, copywork is great for honing attention to detail. Even missing a comma or adding in an extra letter mars the copywork. For copywork to be most effective, you should require your child to copy it exactly and correct any mistakes that are made.

2. exposure to great thoughts

Chose your copywork carefully, and you get a double advantage of exposing your child to great thoughts, worthy of meditation. As the child copies the quotes, scripture, poem, or literary passage, hopefully he is considering the words and the meaning. Be sure to incorporate a discussion of the passages into your copywork habit to get the most out of this advantage.

3. memorization

You may want your child to memorize some of the copywork passages. Writing them repeatedly is a good memorization technique.

4. penmanship

Copywork should be done in one's best handwriting. Therefore, copywork is a fantatstic chance to practice manuscript or cursive penmanship. Again, require excellence and revisions where mistakes are made.

Quotation Copywork Examples

Da Vinci Quotations for Copywork
Da Vinci Quotations for Copywork | Source

Copywork is a Language Arts Workout

Copywork has high payoffs because it 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

inexpensive and simple to implement

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

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.

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. High school students can copy larger passages taken from the literature or history they are studying.

Make Copywork More Comfortable

A Great Tool During Copywork Sessions
A Great Tool During Copywork Sessions | Source

The StudyPod Book Holder

My daughter benefits greatly from putting her materials to copy into a vertical holder such as the studypod (also called bookpod).

Using the studypod seems to help posture and also increases desk space by lifting the book or paper off the table.

Things to Use for Copywork

What is your favorite source of copywork material?

  • hymns
  • literary selections
  • quotations
  • Scripture
  • poetry
  • a mixture of two or more
See results without voting

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Comments 5 comments

mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 5 years ago

Sounds useful. Probably something that I should have done as a child, maybe then I would have more legible handwriting!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I'll share this to my friend who work as English teacher. Thanks for writing this. Very informative and useful for us. Vote up. Take care!

Blessing and hugs,


mkvealsh profile image

mkvealsh 5 years ago

This is a good reminder of a tool to incorporate into everyday school. Thanks so much!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Excellent hub! Yes, I agree with you. Exposing children to great literature through copying has so many benefits, giving them an exemplar to aspire towards. You have explained this strategy very well. Thank you!


susanm23b 4 years ago

I have used Charlotte Mason's methods in my homeschool for years. I have used copy work and find it very helpful. You did a great job of explaining this for homeschoolers new to Charlotte Mason. Voted up!

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