Topic | how to schedule prepared dictation

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  • Catie Simpson

    I just ordered Spelling Wisdom Book 1 for my 3rd and 4th grade boys and am looking forward to using it!  We come from a pretty rigorous spelling program before and are getting used to the more Charlotte Mason way!

    I’m trying to figure out how I can expect to schedule the Spelling Wisdom each week.  From looking at the samples of Book 1, they start out short and pretty simple, but get longer and more complex.  The first lesson, for example I could probably dictate with them the same day (or the next day if I want to give them some extra time to ease into this new routine).  Looking at the longer ones, I can see taking 20 or so minutes just going over it with them at the beginning of the week.  (I’m envisioning reading it with them, maybe looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary, discussing any more challenging punctuation, maybe giving them some context of the novel or author).  Just that would take up a whole class period. Day 2, would be a study day where they study on their own?  Could Day 3 be the dictation day?  Or should I just plan on introducing it on Day 1 and doing the dictation on Day 4 or 5 regardless?  I know this will vary by student, but I’m trying to get a little bit of an idea of what else I can schedule.

    Another question I have: when there are suggestions to do prepared dictation twice a week, does that mean go through 2 lessons a week?  Or that the child is doing it twice a week (whether that is me introducing it with them, them studying, and the final dictation)?  I’d like to see any sample schedules for how other have worked this out for their families.  Thank you!


    The first half of book 1 is transcription.  Transcription is similar to copywork, but they are working toward holding more information in their minds.  Instead of copying letter by letter, they work on visualizing one whole word, then copying it into the book.  From there they can move to small phrases, first visualizing in their minds, then writing on paper.

    For the actual dictation lessons (starting with the 2nd half of Spelling Wisdom 1), my kids usually only need 10 minutes of studying the passage, then I dictate it to them at the end of the lesson.  If their are a few difficult words, we often save the dictation for the following lesson.  We have 2 lessons scheduled each week.  Sometimes we spend a bit of time writing the difficult word(s) on a white board or spelling it aloud before we get to dictation.

    It is a very different method than traditional spelling, but I’ve seen such great results with my DC–and it’s much easier, less stressful, and far more enjoyable than weekly spelling lists!

    Catie Simpson

    Ahh, OK.  I had read that about transcription in the description, but it didn’t really sink in.  So, for the first 70 lessons, we aren’t supposed to be having them study any words?  I won’t be dictating anything… they’ll be looking word by word and then move into phrase by phrase by the end of the 70 lessons?

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