Teacher Tip: Three fun dictation activities

Three tips for including dictation in class

Listening and writing are two areas where almost all students need practice. You can work on these in class by including some fun dictation activities. Try out one of these ideas:

  • Sentences

Give students a printed list of sentences with a word (or several, missing from each.) You can choose sentences directly from the Interactive English workbook, or make up your own using grammar or vocabulary your students are studying. You can read the sentences and have the class fill them in, or have students work on this activity in pairs, taking turns reading and listening/writing.

If you have a multi-level group, you can give higher level students sentences with more blanks, or have them write the complete sentences.

  • Dicto comp

Choose a paragraph to read aloud to your students. Read the paragraph at normal speed and have your student write down what they hear. They may only get a few words the first time, but that is okay. Read the paragraph 2 more times at normal speed. Allow a few seconds after each reading for students  to finish writing what they heard. After the third reading, ask your students to take a look at what they’ve written and to revise it by rewriting complete sentences. Their end product will probably not be exactly what you have read, but if it’s correct that’s what counts.

  • Running Dictation

Group students in pairs. One will be the reporter and the other will be the scribe. Post sentences or a short paragraph on a wall across the room. Student A must go to the wall read the text, and report back to student B. student B writes what Student A tells him. Student A may make several trips back and forth. This can be done as a competition with the quickest pair winning.