Copying: The First Step
• Teachers are one in recommending that for
beginners, the starting point in their writing
program is the basic sentence pattern.
• After several practice exercises on sentence
copying, the pupils advance to copying
paragraphs, dialogues, short conversations,
and lines or stanzas of poetry.
• The major concerns in every copying activity
are legibility and accuracy.
Mastery of the following rules by beginners
is considered an important writing foundation:
1. Every sentence begins with a capital
2. The personal pronoun I is always written
as a capital letter.
3. Proper nouns begin with a capital letter;
abbreviation of proper nouns are
4. Most adjectives derived from proper
nouns begin with a capital letter.
5. Every title attached to the name of a
person is capitalized.
6. Every line of poetry begins with a capital
7. The first word of a direct quotation is
8. All names that refer to God and the names
of all sacred books are capitalized.
9. The first word and the other words in tiles
of books, poems, stories, and compositions,
except articles, conjunctions, and
prepositions are capitalized.
10. The names of definite geographical parts
of a country begin with capital letters. The
words: north, south, east, west, when
used merely to indicate direction do not
begin with a capital letter.
11. Father, mother, uncle, aunt, cousin, and
other words which show personal relation
do not begin with capital letters unless
they are used as a part of a proper name.
12. The names of the days of the week, the
months of the year, holidays, but not the
names of the seasons, are capitalized.
13. The names of the school subjects
are not capitalized unless they are
proper nouns or proper adjectives.
14. The first word, including the nouns,
in the salutation of a letter begins
with a capital letter.
15. The first word of every part of an
outline is capitalized.
1. A period is used (.):
After a complete declarative and
After an abbreviated word or a single or
double initial letter representing a word.
2. A question mark (?) is used after a direct
3. An exclamation point (!) is a mark used to
show a forceful way of speaking or a
4. A comma is used (,):
to separate words in a series
to separate the parts of addresses,
dates, geographical names
to set off a noun used in direct address
to set off yes, no from the rest of the
To set off quotation expression such as
he said, he says, etc
1. The beginning of a paragraph is shown
by the indention of the first word.
2. Indent the first word of all paragraphs
the same distance from the margin.
3. In a story, a direct quotation requires a
4. In a dialogue, the exact words of the
speaker should be written in a separate
paragraph in order to make clear the
change of speaker.
5. Begin a new paragraph for each new
division of thought.
• In ordinary practice, the teacher uses a
short passage of one or two
paragraphs, with a vocabulary and
sentence structure appropriate for the
grade level of the pupils. It may be a
simple prose, a short tale, or a
dialogue. Before the class starts, the
teacher lists on the board those words
in the passage, the meaning of which
the pupils cannot be expected to
• The teacher reads entirely the
passage at a normal speed with
normal intonation while the pupils
listen. She then reads the passage
in short phrasal segments for the
pupils to write down. The phrases
should be short, enough for the
slowest pupils to understand.
• After the pupils have written the
passage from dictation, the
teacher rereads the passage while
the pupils go over their written
work. The teacher may call on
pupils to read some of the
sentences in the dictated passage
and finally on one pupil to read
the entire passage.
• The teacher then collects and
marks the written work of pupils.
She may also allow the pupils to
correct their own work by
refereeing them to the original
passage. At other times, she may
resort to peer correction of the
Combination of a dictation exercise
and composition writing activity.
1. The teacher reads the passage once in
its entirely at a normal speaking pace;
the pupils may take down notes while
listening to the passage being read.
2. The teacher reads the passage for a
second time slowly, while she lists on
the blackboard the words such as proper
names, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs
or content words.
3. An outline of the passage may be made
and written on the blackboard after the
first reading. The outline is supplied by the
4. While the pupils are writing, the teacher
goes around the room correcting and
commenting or making suggestions.
5. On-the-spot or in-class correction is done
after the pupils have finished writing. Two
ways of correcting are followed; self
correction or peer correction.