Sharing ideas, teaching tips and resources for the homeschool journey.
A natural start to teaching dictation begins with copy work then you can progress to dictation.
Many home educators use dictation as the backbone for teaching their children to write and spell.
Although dictation is a simple tool, it is still hard work for children because they need to concentrate on the mechanics of writing.
Using dictation allows children to practice their writing frequently without the additional stress of trying to think what to write.
Many people worry that dictation stifles creativity. It doesn't!
Identify difficult words and allow time for the student to study the word (learn the spelling).
Here is a free spelling word study chart for you to prepare your own spelling lists and to help your children practice words before dictation.
• carefully copying out the word;
• visualizing the word in their mind with their eyes closed;
• practice writing the words (make sure they are practicing the correct spelling).
When the student feels confident that they can spell the words correctly, begin the dictation.
Look at your student’s dictation and see where the errors are.
From this you can make individualised spelling lists.
You may also wish to introduce some spelling rules to help them with the word
Remember to correct misspelt words as soon as possible so that you don’t risk the student memorising the incorrect spelling.
‘The gift of spelling depends upon the power the eye possesses to “take” (in a photographic sense) a detailed picture of a word; and this is a power and habit which must be cultivated in children from the first. When they have read “cat”, they must be encouraged to see the word with their eyes shut, and the same habit will enable them to image “Thermopylae”. This picturing of words upon the retina appears to be to be the only royal road to spelling; an error once made and corrected leads to fearful doubt for the rest of one's life, as to which was the wrong way and which is the right. Most of us are haunted by some doubt as to whether “balance”, for instance, should have one “l” or two; and the doubt is born of a correction. Once the eye sees a misspelt word, that image remains; and if there is also the image of the word rightly spelt, we are perplexed as to which is which. Now we see why there could not be a more ingenious way of making bad spellers than “dictation” as it is commonly taught. Every misspelt word is in image in the child's brain not to be obliterated by the right spelling. It becomes, therefore, the teacher's business to prevent false spelling, and, if an error has been made, to hide it away, as it were, so that the impression may not become fixed.’
Charlotte Mason. Home Education.
The way you read a passage will help them work out the natural pauses for commas and full stops. You should work towards giving no punctuation prompts during dictation.
There are many punctuation rules to learn, some are very complex, and of course there are always the exceptions. Focus on the basics and make sure you have a good reference.
Using good literature to model correct usage of words is valuable for teaching good grammar.
A grammar reference will also be a useful resource.
teaches handwriting from first letters to mastering writing. It gives ideas on using copywork and dictation in the homeschool.
Suitable for Grades: Kindergarten –Grade 3
The beauty of dictation is that you are not limited to fixed texts for dictation. The key to making it worthwhile is to use living books, books that are worth reading and writing.
You can use many sources including; scripture, poetry, classics and non fiction.
is a homeschool resource that teaches you how to make the most of dictation and gives you a collection of passages to help you get started.
Suitable for Grades: Grade 4—Grade 8.