DictationWe use Prepared Dictation in our homeschool.  Charlotte Mason used this method for teaching spelling and grammar to her students.

We use dictation in addition to our spelling notebooks.

Prepared Dictation is extremely simple and only takes 5-15 minutes depending on the length of the passage being dictated.

Dictation passages can be found in any good quality literature , biography, science, history, or poetry book, etc.   At first look for short passages to get your child acquainted with dictation.  Make sure also that the passage doesn’t contain too many words that your child doesn’t know how to spell.  Look for passages that contain only one or two words that are unfamiliar.

We generally pick our dictation passages from famous quotes or excerpts from poems.  These are my daughters favorites.  We pull them from books across our curriculum as well.

The child should be given the passage ahead of time so she has ample time to study any unknown words and punctuation.  That is why we call it PREPARED dictation.  You may give your child the passage to study at the beginning of the week and then give her the dictation lesson at the end of the week.  With short passages my daughter is sometimes ready for her dictation lesson within 5 minutes.  Sometimes she needs a few days.  It definitely depends on the child, length of the passage, and difficulty of unknown words.  You should figure out what works best for your child.

Your child can study the passage straight from the text or you may type it up for her.  I like to show her the passage from the original text first and then give her the passage that I typed to study from.  This ensures she studies the correct passage and I don’t have to mark in our book.

She should study any words that she doesn’t know how to spell in the same way she would study a word for her spelling notebook.

When she is ready, or on our scheduled dictation day at the end of the week, we have our dictation lesson.  You may ask her about any unfamiliar words from the passage.  When she tells you, ask her if she is sure she knows the correct spelling for each word.  Let her spell them to you or write them on the white board.

When you know she is indeed ready, let her take out a sheet of notebook paper and begin dictating the passage.  Read each line only once,  therefore cultivating the habit of  attentiveness.  Read slow and clearly watching your child’s paper so you know when she is ready for the next set of words.

In example:  You begin,”Early to bed,” you then wait until your child is almost finished with her last word then you continue, “Early to rise,” pause again and when ready, “Makes a man healthy,” pause and when she is ready continue, “Wealthy and wise.”

Sample Dictation

Sample Dictation

There is no repeating any part of the passage.  Your child should be aware of this before beginning.

When she is finished you may have her check her dictation with the original text, looking for any mistakes in spelling, punctuation or capitalization.  For younger students you could help them check it against the original, but you want your child to learn to find their own mistakes if possible.

File this page behind the Dictation divider in your spelling notebook.  You should do a dictation lesson no more than once or twice per week.

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