Copywork and Kindergarten


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  • Somewhere along the way I got the impression that we weren’t supposed to start copywork until 6 years old or approx 1st grade. Something about muscle development? And even then that it should be started in very short segments, 5 minutes or so….

    So my question is on several of the threads lately I see reference to some folks starting copywork in kindergarten or even with preschool ages so now I am wondering if I just made up the 6 year old rule :o)

    I had scheduled copywork for my oldest daughter this year but not my 5 year old even though she is learning to read. Because she is learning to read she is constantly practicing letters on her own and playing games that involve her “writing” the problem is since I haven’t really focused on copywork she is forming most of her letters incorrectly :o(

    So I guess my question is am I just letting her form bad habits by not having her do beginner copywork? Is there a reason to wait?


    I think readiness is a guiding principle at the very young ages.  Boys especially are slow in the fine motor area.  In fact, my boys read early but they NEVER EVER practiced writing anything on their own at 5!  I waited until 6 with them.  But if she is doing it on her own, I’d start some gentle copywork.  Just formation of single letters, just for a few minutes, no pushing.  Make one lovely letter and then encourage her to make one lovely letter too.  It might take her a few before the two of you decide it looks lovely, then that’s it for that day.  Keep it light and easy at this age, and if she loses interest or starts balking you can back off for a while as she still has plenty of time. 


    I think that you initial understanding is correct. However, CM said that it was important for a habit to be established correctly, rather than initially forming a habit incorrectly, and then trying to later “unlearn” and correct the habit.

    It is for this reason that we are starting handwriting this fall, with our young 5-year-old. She is starting to write people’s names on the artwork she creates for them (Mommy and Daddy, grandparents, family friends, etc). She has also expressed a desire to write letters to her friend, whose family just moved about 3 hours away. She is showing interest, and some of the letters she makes on her own are backwards/not formed correctly. If she’s determined to do it, I would rather have her learn the correct way to form her letter, and use her desire to write her friend as a natural learning platform.


    We used a chalkboard or white board with markers so the letters could be big and were easy to write.  Nothing on lines but we did talk about correct formation and only did a very little bit.  If she was writing for fun on the chalkboard and I noticed her start her “O” at the bottom, I would show her the correct way and have her trace my “O” with a little dot at the top so she would know where to start.  We would decorate an 8×10 letter with an art form of that letter (jello paint for “J”, paint with Q-tips for “Q”, etc) on one day and search through a letter box for stickers of things that started with the letter.  There were about 15 stickers and they only represented 3 letter sounds.  I wrote the letter large on the page the stickers went on, explaining the correct formation, and she would copy a few of her own after tracing mine.  Again, the size of the letters and staying on the line was not important at all.  Any practice of forming the letters without them having to be the exact size and in an exact spot is good so they can only worry about formation and not resting on lines or anything else.  Just let her work with letters, write them with a finger on a baggie filled with pudding and sealed shut or shape a string around a letter you have written.  We did what I called “copywork” in K but it just looked different from what I called “copywork” for my then 2nd grader.

    Thanks ladies, your thoughts and ideas were really helpful :o)


    We started with chalk also in K and when our dd’s were writing letters well with chalk, we moved on to pencil and blank paper. Then by 1st grade I start them on lined paper then slowly ease into words and sentences. As they are progressing well, we move up. Smile I don’t push writing until K age. Before that we just work on letter recognition (just for fun reading abc books or games).



    I started teaching dd her letters when she was 4 because she wanted to know how to write names for her pictures as well. We bought the HWT slate board and PreK book. Learning on that slate makes it pretty hard to mess letters up and she has done well with her capital letters. At 5 I bought the HWT K book to teach her the lower case letters. Now she is almost 6 and we are just starting ‘copywork’ for first grade. She can handle sentences so it seems appropriate. Earlier, just copying 6 letters in a row was plenty.

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