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Curricula and Learning Links - Classical and Charlotte Mason Education

Copy Work

What Is Copy Work?

Copy work, or copy book, involves copying selections from well-written literature. At younger ages, children copy a line or two, and at older ages, they copy paragraphs, poems, essays, and chapters. Copy work has a long history! George Washington's copy book is kept at the Library of Congress. The benefits of copy work include the following:

  • Increase in vocabulary
  • Improvement in punctuation and spelling
  • Familiarization with complex grammar structure
  • Gentle but rigorous learning
  • Great help for a reluctant writer
  • Can be used all the way through high school
  • Can be used in conjunction with dictation

Sources for Copy Work

Any quality literature makes outstanding copy work material. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Testimony from Laurajean

My youngest son is 11, but was slower to read and really hates to write. I may have him copy a passage (The older he gets, the longer the passage.) - anywhere from one sentence to an entire paragraph. This has helped grammar, punctuation and spelling PLUS it gives him practice in handwriting (which is what he needs). It is a rather painless, non-threatening way for him to get some good, consistent practice in these areas.

I will let him copy a passage - right now it's 2 -3 sentences - for 2 days. He will proofread, and we go over any difficult spellings or punctuation. He reads it aloud, and then on the 3rd or 4th day, we do dictation with the same passage. I read it, and he writes it without looking.

There are some children younger than my son who could probably do more than he is doing, it all depends on their level, maturity and abilities. This has been a great help for us, though.

I may use Bible verses or passages from a book that we are reading. I try to keep it interesting, though. I make sure he gets some practice with unusual words and punctuation from time to time, too. -- Laurajean

Find more free curricula and resources on's Curricula Page Index!. See more Charlotte Mason and Classical Resources.