I work full-time during the day. At night, we do our read-alouds and our Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts, which we read and discuss. I had planned to use MegaWords this year for them mostly because one son has LDs such that his spelling is on about a 2nd-3rd grade level and he will be a 7th-grader this year. I know that Spelling Wisdom can work for LD children as well, but with me not home, is this really feasible?
Any recommendations on how you would handle studied dictation, including the dictation part, when not at home until evenings? How many days/week do you recommend the dictation itself?
A few suggestions, Cindy.
1. The most time consuming feature of prepared dictation is the PREPARING. They could do that during the day. I never do a dictation lesson longer than fifteen minutes, so you could probably squeeze in a fifteen minute lesson. I typically do prepared dictation twice a week.
2. Alternatively, you could use your technical prowess 🙂 and record an audio file for them to use of you reading the selection slowly, while they do the dictation. You’d have to trust them not to replay it five times 🙂 and you wouldn’t have the advantage of being right there to correct it on the spot if they misspell or make an error, but you could probably find a way to make it work if you just couldn’t find the time in the evenings.
I was thinking that recording an audio file into their virtual notebook would be a good solution. I would just have to make the time to do the recordings, but at least they could be done at any time *I* was available!
So would they do all of the PREPARING on their own during the day? I watched Sonja’s video on Prepared Dictation today and she gave a lot of options for this stage. And many of them were to be done with the adult, but I was hoping that was more for younger children. Can you give me a feel for how your boys do the preparing part?
Well, I don’t know for sure if I do it exactly like Sonya, I don’t have that video and was doing dictation for quite a while before I “met” her. But I do it quite differently with the teens than I do with the younger child. The teens really just read over the passage, look up words they don’t know and find where they came from, list words they might have trouble spelling, and look for unusual punctuation. They’ve been at this a while, and in fact they don’t often encounter words they can’t spell and they are quite good at basic punctuation. The 10yo has a little more work to do. With him, we diagram the sentence or break it up into clauses, discuss ALL the punctuation, make a list of words to practice on spelling, and look up definitions he doesn’t know. So you might need to figure out what you want them to do, and then they can do it, perhaps? Perhaps leave an annotated copy of the passage, having them look up words, diagram the sentence, list spelling words to work on using whatever method you use, or whatever else your boys need done? Once they’ve been at it a while, they probably won’t need as much input from you to tackle a passage.
This gave me an idea! We are using MCT Language Arts (just started it, really) and it uses a 4-part analysis of sentences that is similar to diagramming. Using these sentences that they are already analyzing, including paying special attention to new words and their roots/affixes, may be the perfect sentences to use with Preapared Dication! They will already be familiar with the sentence and how it all goes together. So they would just need to study the specific spellings of words and they would be ready! I like this idea!
Oh, and the sentences used by Michael Clay Thompson’s LA program are all from classical literature, so we are talking about high quality sentences for dictation – not just simple, made-up sentences from a traditional grammar program.
Thank you, again!
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