We’ve been including Dictation since September. It has changed our home school for the better. When I first began researching HOW to do dictation, there weren’t very many resources out there that explained it in detail. I wanted a step by step list of how dictation worked. I’m a list person. Lists make me happy. I wanted to know the nitty-gritty details so I could teach it to the best of my ability. After researching blogs on dictation and watching YouTube videos, I came up with our own way of doing Dictation.
Before I share how we do dictation in our home school, I want to encourage you to do what works for your family. Dictation has worked tremendously well for our home school, but if you try it for a month or two and it isn’t working, throw it out. What works for my family may not work for yours, and that’s OK! Every family is different, and no two home schools will be alike.
Here are the steps that we follow when we do Dictation.
A Guide through Dictation:
- Pick good literature that your child loves. (Examples include the Bible, Shakespeare, The Boxcar Children, and The Chronicles of Narnia.)
- Pick a sentence from the literature you’ve chosen. Remember, you know your child better than anyone. Pick a sentence that is both attainable but also challenging.
- Say/Dictate the sentence 3 times and have your child repeat the sentence after you. Depending on the length of the sentence, you may want to break down the sentence into phrases.
- Go over spelling words. Pick out the words your child doesn’t know how to spell. Spell the word for them until they can spell it back to you.
- Go over new punctuation. Teach what a comma (or other punctuation mark) does, and where it is in the sentence.
- Say the sentence 3 times again. Exaggerate the punctuation slightly. Be sure to change your voice when a character is talking, and pause deliberately for commas so the child repeats the sentence correctly.
- Have your child write the sentence. I allow three more readings (where I read the sentence to them when they ask) of the sentence while my kids are writing. I do not read it more than three times.
- Check for errors.
- Have your child review their mistakes and make corrections.
- Go over the eight parts of speech for the words in the sentence. Start small by asking them where the nouns are, then gradually over time ask them to find all eight parts of speech by teaching a new one each week or so.
- Diagram the sentence. Start small by asking them to diagram the subject and verb. When they are confidently diagramming the subject and verb, begin teaching more about diagramming.
I treat these steps more like a guide. My older two kiddos do all the steps that are listed above. But my six year old doesn’t. Every student is different. It’s one of the reasons I love homeschooling so much. I can be flexible.
Feel free to change the list for your family’s needs! If you want to get rid of a step, then do it. If you want to add your own step, go for it.
Hope this helps!