Sunday, January 20, 2008

Beginning Dictation

I am using more and more of Charlotte Mason's methods in our homeschool. Since school restarted a few weeks ago, we have started using both narration and dictation. This month we are reading Charlotte's Web for a book club I started for young girls. I am using short passages from the book as our dictation passages. I thought I'd share an example of how dictation works in our house.

To choose a passage, I look for some element(s) that we've been studying in our language arts book - which I hope to "give up" when I'm more confident in dictation. Last week, we talked about using a comma after the name of someone you are addressing. So, you might say, "Alexandra, please feed the dog." We also just finished up our study on pronouns and have just started studying verbs.

Here is the passage I picked for tomorrow's dictation:
Mrs. Arable fidgeted. "Fern says the animals talk to each other. Dr. Dorian, do you believe animals talk?"

I will actually show this passage to Alexandra and point to the comma and ask her why it is there. Then, I will ask her to find any pronouns and then explain what noun the pronoun is being used for ("you" for Dr. Dorian). Then, I'll ask her to find the verb of each sentence (fidgeted, talk, believe). I'll also ask her why there is a period after Dr and why Dorian is capitalized since we've covered both of these. I might ask her to find all of the proper nouns and all of the common nouns. And, I'll ask her why the quotation marks are there.

Then, I'll ask her if there are any words she thinks she'll have trouble spelling. If she doesn't say some that I think she might have trouble with (like maybe "believe"), I'll ask her to spell it out loud. We'll study these words for spelling.

Next, I'll ask her to look over the passage carefully and ask her if she has any questions. Then, she'll go to the dry erase board and I'll read a few words at a time while she writes it down.

When she's done, I'll ask her to look carefully over her work for any spelling errors... than for any punctuation problems... then for any capitalization problems. When she's done, I might tell her I see one spelling problem and ask her to see if she can find it. If she still can't find it, I'll hand her the book and have her try to find the mistake that way.

This is pretty much how we are doing it right now. I'm excited as it seems a great way to cover so many language arts "issues" at once. And, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to do a passage like this. And, it's very little work for me, too.

Like I said, we're new to this but excited about the possibilities!


Rhonda said...
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Rhonda said...

Great way of teaching it. Covering so much in such a little time is always a blessing. Melanie, my middle child, is working on commas and direct quotations at the moment. We are using ABeka and she is enjoying it. Great work Dana. I think that I like your way better. You're able to get much more accomplished in less time.

Makita said...

I love how you do dictation. My oldest is only 5 - too young for dictation just yet, but your description certainly helps to clarify.

I am trying to incorporate more narration as well. I'm struggling though - sometimes she narrates beautifully and other times she says, "I don't know. Can you give me a hint." or "I forget." I've been helping by asking questions... that seems to elicit more details. How do you do narration? How long of a passage do you read before you ask her to narrate?

TeacherBritt said...

Great details on how you do dictation (with grammar in the middle of it) Thanks for the insightful post! :)

Be Blessed,

melissa said...

Great dictation post! I think we are all a bit imtimidated by dictation when we really need not be.

Dianne M said...

English for the Thoughtful Child is a gentle, CM approach to grammar that might help and be a good guide. Oh, and also Simply Grammar. Both are CM type resources. Simply Charlotte Mason is a website that is good too. We use Ambleside Online, but I scan SCM for ideas and resources, too. Simply Grammar is mentioned on SCM. Thank you for sharing your dictation method. We haven't started that yet, but it was good to "see" how it is done by a "live" person. You read about the method, but hearing how it's implemented is helpful.

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