What is dictation?
Dictation is the practice of reading a passage to your child and having them dictate, or write it down. You first read the whole passage, then you break it down into bite size chunks for them. After they complete the passage you next check the spelling, punctuation and possibly correct the handwriting if needed.
How can I work dictation into our homeschool? Do I need a special book?
Here’s a few tips and suggestions for you. Pick a passage from a literature book that you are reading for history or for a family read-aloud. Read it out loud and have your child write what they hear. Then go over necessary spelling and grammatical mistakes. Then talk about the uniqueness of the sentence. There are sure to be some grammar pointers in there somewhere. Often, I get questions about punctuation marks (: or ; for instance) and anything I can’t explain, I simply look these up in a grammar reference.
Pick a poem that you are currently memorizing – or start memorizing one! Or, pick a well-loved poem and have them copy it first, this may take several days. Then one day dictate it and have them write it. Go over the poem as I mentioned above.
How about a hymn? Hymns have wonderful vocabulary. There are sure to be some words that you can look up (or have an older student look up on their own). And of course, Bible verses are great for dictation too. Especially ones that you are trying to commit to memory.
How about science? Is there something really neat that you read about in science that maybe sparked an interest in your child? Something from a living book or a science encyclopedia would work well.
For younger children, some good ideas are:
- Days and months
- Short verse
- Sentence from a beloved book
- Names of family members
- A poem (do a little every day)