Handwriting, tracing and copywork

Some kids find it difficult to copy passages into a notebook or onto lined paper when they are still working on letter formation. For especially young children, it is perfectly appropriate to limit their writing activities to handwriting books while they are mastering the letters. If they show some competence and mastery, you can move into letting them trace a passage that you write out for them on lined paper. Tracing is a wonderful way for kids to begin to understand the role of spacing between words, of putting those letters to the page to make words, of managing the arrangement of various letters next to each other.

Most children begin handwriting programs at ages 6-7. Copywork, on their own, without tracing, is best begun when the formation of the letters is comfortable and the child doesn’t need to consult a model to remember how to form the majority of letters. Start with a short sentence or even a single word. Using your child’s name as the first passage of copywork is a great idea as it allows your child to work with words that he or she usually knows well. (Of course if you have a long or complicated surname, you may have to begin with tracing for that word as well.)

As your child gets older, continuing to use a handwriting program (a workbook) while also doing copywork is accceptable. Some days it’s nice to have the comfort of shaping letters rather than having to hold onto an entire word at a time, figuring out how to fit it onto the lined paper and so on.

One Response to “Handwriting, tracing and copywork”

  1. Beate says:

    I started reading and was aready thinking – tracing 😉 We bought a light tracer a year ago for the Level 2 atrium, and the kids love tracing prayer cards. Even my 12 yo loves tracing small passages for hand writing practice 🙂