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Copywork and Dictation lead to fluency in spelling

Rather than using traditional spelling lists and tests, we teach spelling inductively through copywork and dictation practices. The parent has the opportunity to target troublesome spelling words for extra practice in the French-syle dictation exercises. 

In original writing, you do not correct misspellings

Celebrate the words and ideas the child is communicating in original writing. Do not allow misspellings or poor punctuation to detract from your appreciation of your child's inspiration.  Whatever the mechanics skill level of the child, you support, honor, and nurture it.

Meanwhile, make mental notes about the consistent mistakes you see. This is where you will focus your attention during copywork. Though there may be many mistakes, isolate one or two to work on for now. Leave the rest for later—chances are good they will reappear!

Copywork and Dictation

Using someone else’s writing, you teach these specific mechanics and spelling issues. Find a bit of copywork that includes the concept or a few of the words your child struggled in his original work. You may spend the next three weeks on this, one sentence per week, that features one of the words. You let your child copy the sentence. Later you use our “French-style dictation” method (see Growing Brave Writers or the Guidelines that come with the language arts programs). Then you might try traditional dictation to really solidify the words.

Yes, it takes forever… for a while.

Until, one day your child unconsciously starts applying what he or she is learning in copywork and dictation naturally to original writing…which always happens! You just have to be patient to see it emerge (usually around age 12 or 13).


To learn more about Brave Writer's approach to spelling, read here:

Spelling in Style

Invented Spelling?