Topic | Dictation Sources?

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  • Lisa

    We are in our sixth year of HS, and dictation has always been a struggle for me – mostly trying to find sources. I am slowly figuring out that our spelling program (Spelling Workout) is a great resource. Each week begins with an essay which uses some of the spelling words. I’ve begun typing up 2 or 3 sentences of the essay (including 2-3 spelling words) and then recording the dictation on Evernote. I save them in an Evernote notebook called “Spelling Dictations”  and use the book letter and chapter number so the kids can find them easily. My two oldest (5th and 3rd grade) can then access the dictation, listen to the recording, and write their dictation. I’m hoping that since I am recording them and keeping them in a permanent location, my next younger two can use them in later years without my having to reinvent the wheel. This works pretty well, except that every 5 or 6 weeks they have a review lesson which doesn’t have any new words. But I’m finding that at some point in 5 or 6 weeks, they miss a dictation, so they usually go back and redo a lesson that they missed.

    For next year, I’ve discovered a Writing curriculum (Writing&Rhetoric) which also includes a weekly dictation. Hurray!! I plan to put those into Evernote this summer and I will finally have the two dictations a week that have always been my goal.

    I’m sharing this mainly for others who might have had the same problem. I have just really struggled to find “excellent” examples of quality literature that will inspire my children. I read a lot of books on their reading lists, and occasionally stumble across passages I feel would be appropriate, but I’m usually reading at night before bed when I’m least motivated to leap up and make a dictation. I figure at the least, they are having more opportunities to practice their Spelling words.

    How about you? How many dictations do you expect your children to do in a week? What sources have you found for your dictations?


    My ds9 does 2 dictations each week from Spelling Wisdom, Book 1.  Everything is already prepared and ready to go.  No reinventing of the wheel is involved.  There are 140 lessons which can be used over the course of 2-3 years.  The selections are interesting and really, we have such a routine now that it’s very easy to get 2 done each week.

    Our read aloud right now is At the Back of the North Wind, and I must say that there are plenty of gems in it that make for good copywork dd7 or dictation for older children.  Beautiful words such as these:

    “But it can’t be denied that a little gentle crying does one good.  It did Diamond good; for as soon as it was over he was a brave boy again.”

    and this passage:

    “”I think there must be a big cupboard somewhere, out of which the little cupboards are filled, you know, mother.'”

    My daughter really enjoys doing copywork from something familiar…a scripture passage, a little poem, a Sunday School song, something we are memorizing or some lines from one of her books.  I usually use things we have read that morning, because I love to watch her eyes light up when she recognizes the words.  I just write the lines out while she is doing math or something else.  She writes slowly, so she usually works on 1 passage for 3-4 days, 10 minutes per day.

    Maybe you could lightly star passages you want to use from books and place post-it notes on pages to keep track of passages that you could use.






    We use Spelling Wisdom but I might try to use Evernote as you suggest. It’s s great idea. I’ve never been 100% happy with a dictation curriculum but SW seems about the best I’ve found.


    I love a book called The Harp and Laurel Wreath. It has copywork and dictation exercises from K-12. Selectiins of classic literature, poetry, Bible verses etc…


    We get our dictation exercises in our grammar/writing program, English Lessons through Literature. I’m so thankful they are scheduled for us, otherwise I’m sure I would struggle to get them done!

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