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06 August 2016

Preparing for Studied Dictation

I've been wanting to do more with our copywork and dictation for Hero, but I've been uncertain as to how to go about it. Turns out, there's a lot of tutorials out there on how to use copywork and dictation to teach language arts. Here are some of the resources that I've learned:

DICTATION is a natural way to teach proper spelling to a child. The words are meaningful because they are taken from the child’s schoolbooks. They are also learned in context, rather than list form, which also aids the child in remembering how to spell the word. -Higher Up And Further In

I thought this was especially interesting, because it made me think of how I'm working on learning Japanese -- in many ways, I'm doing a variant of studied dictation, but without a person to read it to me like a mom/teacher would. This is encouraging: I know that what I'm doing with Japanese is effective, and this being so similar, it should work very well, even though it's a huge departure from the usual spelling list method.

After reading the whole article, I still had some questions about what it might look like in practice. When I googled, hoping for more blog posts, I ended up with a bunch of YouTube videos in my results, and those are very helpful.

After our first exercise, I went looking for more suggestions from the lovely ladies on Ambleside Online. And here are a few more things they said could be helpful:

--They've collected Miss Mason's thoughts on the topic.

-- He's used to oral dictations, now his brain needs to be trained to do written dictations; there's going to be a transition period.

-- It's ok if it takes more than a week; don't do the final dictation until he's prepared well enough to be confident that he can do the whole passage perfectly.

--Ask him to look at the words, then close his eyes and picture them before he writes. If there is any part that he's unsure of, then he should do it again until he can see the whole passage in his mind's eye. 

--Copywork examples can be placed progressively further away, or on the reverse side of a folded over notebook, in order to require him to hold a detailed picture of the writing in his head. 

--The Ambleside FAQ has a section on copywork, what is meant to be happening, and how to get there; our copywork can be more effective than it currently is. 

--Put a post-it over errors, then have them write the correction on it, so they only see the correct way of doing it.

--Don't over-correct. If you get a lot of errors (and you should study till that's not a huge issue) then just chose the most important one or two to deal with.

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