Copying from the board or overhead

To copy from the board or overhead, students need to use graphomotor motor skills to maintain a comfortable pencil grip and to form letters easily and legibly. In order to copy words or numbers, a student must first create a mental image of each letter, number, or symbol he needs to write, and then use that image as a model when actually writing the letter/number. In addition, when students copy information, they also use language skills to read the words to be copied, and short-term memory to hold that information in their memory until they write it down on paper.

Helpful Hints

  • Help the student learn to compare situations when s/he has an easy time writing or copying information with those where s/he has difficulties. Let the student identify approaches that have been successful. If possible, suggest ways the student might apply successful approaches to situations where s/he is less successful.  
  • Hand out notes or a typed or written copy of the material being presented so the student can follow along at his/her desk.  
  • Provide the student with partially completed semantic, outlines, handouts, etc. to serve as guides or to use for review. This will decrease the amount of information a student needs to copy and will help with the organization of the material.  
  • Allow the student to copy information from the board or overhead in stages (dealing with small amounts at a time).  
  • Read the material aloud as the student copies it.  
  • Make sure all information to be copied from the board or an overhead is written clearly. Highlight important information with an underline or a different color.