Dictée Instructions

I am still tinkering with my latest book. I would appreciate feedback on this printable download, if anyone would mind testing it in class and making comments in a comment field below. Here are the instructions:

GENERAL: Have a few sentences prepared using information generated during the Create phase. Students hear each sentence three times but write it only once.

Follow these steps:

1. Read the sentence through slowly but without interruption. The students listen.

2. Read the sentence through at an extremely slow pace. Pause amply between individual words or word chunks. The students write what they hear.

3. Read the sentence through without interruption. The students check their work. Read slowly enough for them to make last minute changes.

4. The students skip two lines between their writing to allow the processing work described later in this list.

5. Reveal the correct version of each sentence on the document camera, one sentence at a time. The students compare their version with the correct version.

6. Require that the students copy the text correctly on the first line below the line they just wrote on. They are graded on the accuracy of their copying.

7. Then they go into their own writing and – using a different colored pen – circle everything that is different from the correct sentence just displayed by the teacher.

8. Students do not have to correct their writing (though some will want to), but they do have to circle everything that was different.

9. When assessing their work, award a perfect score for correctly circled mistakes and correctly copied text on the line below.

10. When students know that they only have to copy correctly and identify their own misspellings, they embrace dictation and feel successful, which is our goal.

11. Dictations that go beyond ten minutes are too long.



6 thoughts on “Dictée Instructions”

  1. Yes. This is what I do. However, I don’t have any pre-written sentences. I don’t use the overhead. In fact, I hardly ever use the overhead anymore. I confess, I’m a bit anti-technology these days. So, instead, after I repeat the sentence the third time, I just write it out on the whiteboard. One problem with doing it this way is that some students will wait until they see the correct version on the whiteboard and copy that twice instead of trying to write their version first.

    Mine are totally on the fly, using whatever we just talked about as the material for the dictation.

    Also, I encourage students to use a different color pen to make corrections. I have a box of crayons I’ll pass around.

    1. This is pretty much what I do as well, because my 4th / 5th grade students can’t wait until all three sentences are done before they see my version. To avoid them just waiting to copy twice I walk around and put stars or check marks on their papers as they are writing to encourage them to try and keep up.

      I’ve added another step of asking them to write what they think the sentence means in English on a third line and comparing that with a neighbor. They seem to enjoy that part.

      I really like the idea of the multicolor pens and circling differences, I’m going to add that in.

  2. I did this today with my 5th graders and it was great! They were so happy when they found that they had gotten it right. 🙂

  3. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    For me @ elementary, I only do one sentence at a time and then write the corrected version. Also we do dictee on lined dry-erase lap boards. This seems to really minimize any anxiety, competition or other negativity. Sometimes we do a guided drawing first (today we drew a cutie hotdog – a character from a story) and wrote sentences from the story above/ below the drawing.

    Everyone loves that feeling of the marker skating across the shiny surface…

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