How to Improve Kids' Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Skills with Copywork
A lot schools today don’t put much focus on teaching correct spelling and grammar. They want to instill a love of writing in children and worry that enforcing correct grammar, spelling and punctuation will stifle this. In many schools, teachers don't correct children's writing. Invented spelling is also becoming more common as schools start to focus on creative writing as early as kindergarten.
Many students are graduating from high school and even college with poor writing skills as a result. Copywork is one method of writing practice that parents can use with their children to improve writing skills. Copywork can easily be used in a homeschool environment. It is also something parents of public and private school students can easily add to homework, if the school isn't promoting correct spelling and grammar skills.
What is Copywork?
Copywork is writing something out by hand. It involves copying letters, words, sentences or paragraphs. Copywork is a method that was strongly advocated by Charlotte Mason, a 19th century educator. She believed that copywork provided penmanship exercise and exposed children to a wide variety of writing styles. Allowing spelling and grammar mistakes would reinforce bad writing habits, since a child may not recognize when words are spelled correctly or not. Children would also develop the habit of using bad grammar.
Copywork exposes children to correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Charlotte Mason believed that copywork assignments should be short, approximately 5 to 10 minutes a day. Children progress from letters and words to whole sentences. Then they move on to whole paragraphs and eventually a whole page. It is important that children use neat handwriting during copywork exercises.
How to Use Copywork
Many people use poetry, quotes or paragraphs from great books as copywork exercises. But copywork can also be used to teach subjects like science and social studies. A child could learn the continents or the names of the presidents by copying them. Or they could write out some sentences from a science or history book to reinforce important concepts. This is especially good for 2nd grade and up when most kids are competent writers. You can also get a workbook called that provides both copy and narration exercises. Writing With Ease
Make sure your child is writing neatly during copywork exercises. For younger kids, use specially lined paper to make forming neat letters easier.