Dictation 3 - texts

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

Liliana Borbolla

Telephone tree (sentence dictation)

The teacher makes a telephone tree in class. After school, he/she calls the two first students in the tree and dictates one sentence. Then these two students have to call their assigned classmates in the tree and ask them to add one or two words to the sentence which they dictate. The last students get the complete sentence and bring it to the next class. 

As an alternative this same technique can be used for writing, by e-mail instead of the telephone.

Text reconstruction (dictogloss)

This can be done in a variety of ways. The important thing is that the dictation is given at a normal speed with appropriate intonation and stress patterns. Essentially, students write notes rather than every word. They then have time to turn those notes into the original paragraph. Students may hear the paragraph several times, as they fine tune their notes and writing. For example:

We will no longer accept your doctor's statement as proof of unfitness, as we consider that if you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

  • The teacher reads the paragraph.
  • Student A just listens.
  • Student B writes what they can.
  • Then in pairs they reconstruct the paragraph.
  • The teacher reads the paragraph again.
  • In fours they compare their writing.
  • Students write the paragraph on the board to check their work, or the teacher displays the written paragraph.

Mutual dictation (information gap)

  • Student A has a copy of the dictation with words missing.
  • Student B has a copy with different words missing.
  • The students take turns to make questions to find out their missing words and dictate their partner's missing words to them.

Using the students

  • The teacher elicits adjectives from the students and writes them on the board.
  • Students choose four adjectives they like and write them under two headings, difficult and useful.
  • Then the class mingles and students tell each other their difficult and useful adjectives. They add the adjectives their classmates tell them to their own lists.
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