Transcription and Dictation/Copybooks

Charlotte Mason believed that young children did not fully grasp grammar so their formal training should not begin until around ten years of age. When learning the rules of language, Mason believed children should practice writing things properly and correct mistakes immediately. Children are taught to practice transcribing chosen materials.

A copybook can be as simple a composition book where a student keeps all their transcription work. For younger children these books can begin with simple, purposeful drawings. Two year olds can be given a notebook daily to simply draw shapes in. Eventually the child will begin copy things you have laid out for them.

As they progress and become able to write or draw or paint their notebooks can develop. The strict copywork Mason advocated for is for older students who are beginning to write. She stressed the need for proper writing in order to firmly establish the child's understanding of proper grammar and spelling. Copywork is only meaningful once the child can properly copy letters. A preschooler might have a notebook full of letters or one letter on each page.

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