8 ESL Dictation Exercises for Students

As an English speaker, you may have had dictation lessons…

As an English speaker, you may have had dictation lessons in grade school. This was where the teacher read you a passage, and you had to copy it into your notebook, based on what you heard. Esl dictation is something like that.

8 ESL Dictation Exercises for you to use

1. Repeat a story

All over the Internet, you can find great short stories to dictate. One location is the British Council. They have lots of material, including hundreds of short stories and videos for all levels of ability.

While dictating the stories, you can use different variations. You might include a story that students can rearrange after they have completed dictation and jumble it. Students may also try to guess the last line of the story or leave out some words for other students to fill in later.

2. Ask questions

You can turn a comprehension activity into a dictation activity. You can pre-teach these words and vocabulary before students read the text to find out the answers.

3. Give them discussion sentences

Giving your students discussion questions at the beginning of class is a great way to get their speaking practice going. You could tell them the theme of the class. This also allows them to get a little writing practice.

This is a great starter activity. If you keep the exercise short, your students will get used to the task. Then, they will be able to try longer activities in the future.

4. Go to YouTube for songs and speeches

Use the internet to find a good speech, song, or poem to give to students. You can use YouTube to do this.

Your students can either watch the video and then do dictation. Or, they can do the dictation and watch to see what they got right and wrong. You could then make them try reading and practicing the speech after they have finished writing and listening to it.

5. Use fun games like Rip and Run

This is a great activity for lower grades.

Print out target short texts or sentences and stick them on your classroom wall. Then have them ‘walk’ or ‘run’ to the texts back to their teammates.

The point of the game is that students will have to remember the blocks of the dictation and then run back to their group. They relate the sentence to their teammate, who writes it down.

Then they switch and repeat the process. Winners are those who finish first.

6. Switch things up by having students read the dictation

Let your students be in charge of the class for a change.

Cut up the dictation passage and give out sentences to some of your students. They will read this to the class.

Through this exercise, students learn why pronunciation is important.

7. Complete the sentence

Read sentences that students can complete on their own. This is ideal if you’re practicing a grammar structure you just taught.

8. Solve the blank

Finally, you could explain play a game with students where you remove parts of the dictation passage. You replace those missing words with a sound or blank. Students must complete dictation, by choosing the word that fits the gap.

To Wrap Up: Picking the Best Dictation Passages

Don’t forget that the best esl dictation passages take into account your student’s ability level. It makes absolutely no sense to give them a passage that they are not capable of reading or understanding.

Before you start picking out your materials, take some time and decide what level of reading ability you are working with. The level of a student should help you determine how many difficulties you want to assign the dictation.

Otherwise, you and your students should have fun.

Frequently asked questions

What is an example of dictation?

Examples of dictation include orders that must be obeyed. Developing a recording on a tape recorder for your secretary to type later is another example of dictation. Activity in school where the teacher reads an aloud passage and students write it down.

How do you introduce a dictation lesson?

What is composition dictation?

Riley, Nation and Newton (2009: 62), stated that dictation-composing is a learning strategy where the teacher comes up with a text and test its readers to listen and rewrite what they have heard.

How do you exercise dictation?

Students must write down a passage or sentence in a word for word format. Continue reading until the students are satisfied with their writing, don’t stop or help. Making this more fun is possible by changing words from an original text to create an amusing and entertaining story.

How do you dictate a sentence?

What you should do to make sentence dictation work is to read the sentence to your students. The pace should be regular. Not too slow or too fast. Repeating the sentence is helpful. As students continue to repeat the sentence to themselves, they write it quietly.

What is a Dictogloss activity?

A supported dictation is called Dictogloss. A teacher reads a short, curriculum-related text several times, and the learners attempt to create their own version as close to the original as possible. The ideal dictogloss text is at a level above that of the learners, but with familiar subject content.

How do you test for dictation?

What is a dictation activity?

In digression, someone else writes down what they have said. When children are writing, dictation lends a way to their parents or teachers recording their thoughts and ideas.

How do I teach my 10 year old to spell?

  • Encourage the mastery of the sight words.
  • Make sure your student understands the different sounds that letter combinations can make.
  • Give your child a chance to recognize name families.
  • Organize your child’s spelling rules.
  • Practice, practice, practice

How do I use dictation notes?

  • Copy and paste the text that you are writing.
  • Make a note using the icon that looks like a pencil.
  • Tap the button that looks like a microphone (near the bottom-left corner) when your keyboard pops up.
  • You can write down what you want to write down.

How do you dictate ESL?

How can I improve my English dictation skills?

What is a running dictation ESL?

Running dictation engages students in reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. It is capable of being used in a variety of contexts, including in re-enforcing those “little” words (e.g. Often overlooked by students are verbs and articles they are helping.

How can kids improve dictation?

  • Enhance listening skills
  • Concentrate and focus
  • Allow time for settling down and lying still.
  • Time is limited to a single thing without distractions.
  • Improve note-taking skills
  • Check your knowledge of important skills.
  • Eliminate common mistakes
  • Make it easy

How many types of dictation are there?

Sawyer & Silver (1972) outline four types of dictation: 1) phonemic item dictative, where learners phonetically transcribe short texts, 2) orthographic item dication, the dictating.

8 ESL Dictation Exercises for Students

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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