These notes on dictation come from a talk presented by Edna Equihua.

Author: 
Liliana Borbolla

Shadow dictation

  • Put students in pairs. One is a writer and one is a listener.
  • The teacher reads a paragraph at normal speed.
  • The writer writes what they can and the listener just listens. Then they both try to re-construct the paragraph.
  • The teacher reads the paragraph again so they can compare their version.
  • For mixed-ability classes, you can use their skills by putting weak and strong students together.

Passing the buck

  • The teacher dictates one sentence and each student writes it down on a piece of paper.
  • The students pass their paper to the right.
  • Then everyone underlines the mistakes they find in the sentence.
  • The teacher dictates a second sentence for students to write down on the paper they have.
  • Students pass the paper to the right.
  • Now they underline the mistakes in the second sentence and correct the ones in the previous one.
  • Continue for several more sentences.
  • Conduct a whole-class review of all the sentences dictated.

Word fields

  • The teacher dictates a story.
  • In pairs, the students circle all the words related to a certain topic. For example:

Find the words related to sports.

She sat in the corner. She took a sip of her coffee and spat it out because it was foul. Her goal that evening had been to finish her essay, but there had been constant interruptions. For a start, her boyfriend had dropped in. She had heard him whistling as he came up the path and jumped up like a shot to let him in. But they had had a row that had just made him very defensive. He had just put up what he called his wall and was ready for every move she made. As he thought about it she tried to block his memory from her mind.

Silent letters

  • Dictate a list of words.
  • Students underline the silent letters. For example:
    Christmas
    walk
    platform
    knee
    sandwich
    wrong
    half
  • Or, students write the number of letters and the silent letters. For example:
    honest (6, h)
    character (9, h)
    daughter (8, u g h)
    cupboard (8, p)
    could (5, l)

Listening for stressed syllables

  • The teacher dictates the words.
  • The students write them in the appropriate column according to the word stress. For example:
    FIRST SYLLABLE SECOND SYLLABLE
    coffee
    forty
    record
    canteen
    cassette
    record
Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2

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