Dictation is the process of listening to spoken language and writing down what one hears.
In addition to asking students to spell words and apply the rules of grammar and mechanics, dictation requires students to hold language in their heads as they write. This ability is a necessary—but often overlooked—prerequisite for writing, making dictation, along with oral narration and copywork, a crucial part of instruction in composition.
In Modern Classical education, dictation is typically practiced at least through grade 5 but may be extended into the middle school grades and beyond. It is also useful in foreign language instruction.
This post is part of TLDR (“Too long, didn’t read”), a series of very short articles that explain common homeschooling terms.
Copyright 2022 by Drew Campbell, PhD. All rights reserved.
Drew Campbell is the author of Living Memory, I Speak Latin, and Exploring the World through Story, and co-author, with Courtney Ostaff and Jennifer Naughton, of How to Homeschool the Kids You Have. Dr. Campbell is a veteran homeschooler and has worked as a classroom teacher, private school administrator, and independent tutor.
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