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I need help with copywork


Tabrett
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My dd, who will be 7 this month, copies one letter at a time. Meaning that she looks back and forth from her paper to her copywork for every letter instead of trying to keep a whole word or chunks of a word in her head and write it down. This cause poor spacing problems, letter formation and causes her to loose her place.

 

How do I help her transition from copying one letter at a time to trying to hold onto an entire word in her head and write it?

 

Am I expecting this skill too early or should she start doing this now?

 

How do you teach a child to do this?

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Are these words that she can read comfortably? If she's still only learning to sound out, I would expect this and would counsel giving it time (and keeping the focus on phonics and simple handwriting for the moment).

 

If she's reading well, I'd recommend moving from copywork to studied dictation. Give her an *easy* sentence to start with. Something well within her ability to read, write, and spell. Sit down with her and ask her to read you the sentence. Discuss any words that might be even a little difficult. Have her read it a second time. Have her close her eyes and repeat the sentence to you. Prompt her if necessary.

 

Now remove the model and give her her piece of lined paper. Tell her she is going to write the sentence from memory, but you will repeat it for her as often as necessary. Watch as she writes so that you can correct, prompt, and encourage as she goes.

 

Do this each day, gradually working to slightly more complex sentences. After a week or two, tell her that today she's just going to do the copywork, but that you want her to read the sentence to you first and tell *you* any of the important things she needs to notice (spelling, punctuation, a capital in the middle of the sentence, etc). Remind her that she need only look back at the sentence if she needs a reminder -- and perhaps even put a book on top of the paper so she has to make the decision to physically move it each time she wants to look back.

 

Of course, eventually you'll move on to doing more dictation (eventually without studying it at all) rather than copywork, but I think this will keep you going for a while. ;)

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I also print the copywork on their paper and they write on the line below. My DD is in 3rd and just now able to neatly copy from a separate paper.

 

Also, I have them copy only what they are able to in 5-10 minutes. We use classic poems, and DS copies 1 line daily while DD copies 4-6 lines.

Edited by Holly
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Have you taught her to say the sounds as she writes the letters? My concern is that she may be seeing the letters as a string of letter names--ie, see-ay-tee instead of /k/ /a/ /t/ for the word "cat." I would have her verbalize the sounds as she copies.

 

Do make sure that the level of her copywork is not above her reading level (and even a bit easier if possible for right now, until you see her beginning to chunk things more). I'd also keep copywork very short. Even 2-3 minutes can be a lot for this age. Keep it short and let her skills grow gradually.

 

Merry :-)

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I was having her copy her weekly memory verse. The words are word she can not easily read. I do have her read the verse to me before she copies the passage.

So what you guys are saying is have her copy sentences that are at or below her reading level? I wasn't taking reading level into consideration. I was choosing copywork based on length and relevance to her memory work. The verses are only one sentence.

Hum..... Ok I'll try that.

 

I didn't think she was old enough for dictation. Should I try some studied dictation that is below her reading level?

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My ds was just like this. He was not a strong reader and a horrible speller. Part of his spelling problems are that he can't picture the word in his mind. Like previousldy suggested, I stopped copywork and started dictation. If there was a word that he was unfamiliar with, I helped him sound it out and spell it. At 10 he is now able to copy in a more efficient way.

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I was having her copy her weekly memory verse. The words are word she can not easily read. I do have her read the verse to me before she copies the passage.

So what you guys are saying is have her copy sentences that are at or below her reading level? I wasn't taking reading level into consideration. I was choosing copywork based on length and relevance to her memory work. The verses are only one sentence.

Hum..... Ok I'll try that.

 

I didn't think she was old enough for dictation. Should I try some studied dictation that is below her reading level?

 

Yes, give her copywork that is basically at or below her reading level. Otherwise, it's *very* reasonable and expected to me that she would need to be able to refer back to it for every letter. It's not going to help her much with her memory work as long as the words are too difficult for her to read and hold in her memory visually.

 

You *could* do some studied dictation with her, if it were at an *easy*, comfortable reading level for her and it won't hurt at all.

 

But for now I'd mostly focus on phonics and handwriting/copywork that's well within her reading ability.

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