Written by: Suzie Jones
Returning to school from our holiday break, I read to my first grade class at Borromeo Academy a storybook called, "The After Christmas Tree" by Linda Wagner Tyler. The story is taking place after New Year’s when it was time to take down the family Christmas tree. To make the season last longer, the family decided to invite friends to a winter party. Everyone decorated the old Christmas tree with treats for the birds and wild animals.
The book ended with the children decorating the “outside” Christmas tree with pine-cone bird-feeders. Everyone associates receiving and giving with Christmas. How often do we think about there being a “second season of giving?”
The students were excited to illustrate their favorite part of the story. The class copied the title and a quote from the story in their best handwriting.
Copybooks if done regularly, will increase a child’s skill in spelling, punctuation, penmanship, grammar, word usage, and vocabulary. Writing in their copybook motivates a student to develop a sense of pride and excellence in their work.
The Grammar Stage is where my students are learning one skill at a time, moving on after a previous skill is mastered. Students begin their copy-work by tracing letters, printing letters, copying words, copying sentences, moving onto passages, dictation, and then writing personal narratives. These skills take several years to master.
The use of copybooks is an indirect way of reminding the student of proper mechanics needed when writing. Storybooks are only one source for copy-work. Other resources to use are Bible verses, poetry, fables, fairy tales, science or historical facts.