Topic | how much time, language art

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  • petitemom

    I think I had asked about this a few years ago but I can’t find the post!!

    For 4th grade, about how long do you spend for copy work and cursive?

    I am thinking to have him copy the same thing for 3 days and do dictation the 4th day

    (We have co-op once a week). Does that sound right?

    Also about how long should I have him read out loud?

    And how much written narration?

    We are doing MOH so I have him write a card about what he reads 3 times/week. He does oral narration for our living books. Should we do more?




    Last year my DD was in 4th grade.

    She did Spelling Wisdom and Using Language Well.

    Spelling Wisdom she copied the passage once before doing dictation the next day. Sometimes she did two lessons/week other times one lesson/week it just depended on how she was doing studying new words.

    Copying the SW took 5-10 min max, which was once or twice/week. She also did dictation of the same passage.

    She did written narration once/week for History the rest oral narration.

    Science she would write someting short after each lesson so that is 3 times/week

    Personally I would not have your student copy the same passage three times/week. First reason for my kids they would get lazy and make mistakes because it would get “old” so fast. The idea is attention with no mistakes the first time, not to repeat same thing over and over.


    Thank you, makes sense. I guess I can do copy work one day, dictation the next and move on to another one…


    I have my daughter divide the passage into three parts and she copies one part each day before dictation on the last day.  She is supposed to read the entire passage each day, studying her chosen words, even though she only copies a part at a time.  I confess that I haven’t monitored that part closely, but she has done well with each dictation so I think she really is following my instructions.


    We do different copywork daily. For example, right now they’re copying the Lord’s prayer. We break it into 2-3 lines each day. When they’re done that, we’re going to move onto something different. It takes 5-10 minutes depending on the length of what is being copied. For my son (grade 4), I alternate between printing and cursive. At least once a week I make him do his copywork in printing, just to keep it up, the other days I have him do it in cursive. Copywork and cursive are all one and the same here. I don’t sit down and do separate cursive practice, I just have him practice it anytime he’s writing.

    For reading aloud, I don’t have a set time. If it’s a chapter book, then one chapter. If it’s a picture book, then the story. Might be 5 minutes, might be 15.  That said, my son is an advanced reader, who reads independently (silently) on average 3+ hours a day, so I’m not too concerned about it. If he were still learning/struggling, I would focus on it more.

    For written narration, I believe the recommendation for this age is to start out by requiring one a week, which is what we’re doing. Dictation is once a week thus far, too.





    Thank you,

    It is good to see what others are doing, I was not sure I was doing enough.

    I also have my kids write mostly cursive once they can write well but we are not there yet!

    I am thinking I could probably do copy work only in cursive though.


    This is a great question! Thanks for posting!

    I also have a 4th grader. She reads very well, but struggles with her spelling. So we haven’t done any dictation yet or written narration. I’m doing that right, correct?

    She does Copywork daily and narrates when I remember to ask. I need to get better with the narrations. So, should I have her narrate just her personal reading, or have her narrate everything we read together? I always get so confused with this.

    I also have a 7 year old son. He is not yet reading. Do I have him do any narrations? He does do Copywork daily…

    I guess I’ll chime in on a few things, although typing on my phone so will hope for the best with typos. 🙂

    I hope I do not offend — I do not intend to be antagonistic.

    If your son is not reading, why does he need to do copywork? Some copywork and letter formation might be used as part of your approach to reading lessons, but do the copywork sentences really mean anything to him?

    As for the earlier approach discussed on this thread of copying a selection (or repeatedly copying) before dictation, I haven’t seen anything in Charlotte’s writing that supports that practice, although I’ve known a lot of people who have done it — and if it works well for your child, then of course you should do what is best for you. But I do think that, generally, the practice discourages the habit of close attention while the required repetition somewhat deadens the otherwise beautiful idea.

    I have seen great results from just consistent copywork and then adding in dictation at the appropriate age (dictation of course meaning that the child prepares the passage as described elsewhere, not “cold” dictation).

    Not sure if any of that is helpful, but take it for what it is worth. 🙂


    You know what, I honestly do not know why I have him doing Copywork. Ha! I guess it’s because it’s what the program I’m using, ELTL, suggests each lesson. And I also use it for handwriting practice.  Should I just drop it altogether until he is reading? If so, what do I have him do for handwriting practice…nothing?


    Hi! I also have a 7 year old and I have him do copy work daily because he is not ready for dictation. Copyworking passages helps my child learn his letter writing.  Instead of writing the alphabet, he copies sentences.  This will prepare him for dictation. I use something from books he is starting to read. Pathways readers are a good hooch.  Or McGuffey readers

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