An Overview of Different Kinds of Dictation



Apart from the controlled listen-and-spell approach that is commonly used, different ways of conducting dictation are explored in this package to incorporate dictation in the daily learning and teaching activities to help pupils develop their integrative use of language skills.


Pupils’ language skills can be developed progressively through the introduction of different dictation activities. At Key Stage One (KS1), phonics dictation can be conducted to raise pupils’ awareness of letter-sound relationships and improve their spelling skills. Picture dictation can also be used at KS1 to encourage pupils to apply their grammar and vocabulary knowledge to draw pictures.


Theme-based free dictation can be introduced at both key stages to allow for greater autonomy in vocabulary learning and help pupils organise vocabulary items systematically. The other kinds of dictation, including ‘Bad Cold’ dictation, music dictation and running dictation, could also be conducted at both key stages to enhance pupils’ grammar knowledge and note-taking skills.


As pupils progress to Key Stage Two (KS2), dicto-comp / dictogloss could be conducted to provide opportunities for them to reconstruct texts by making use of the key words and notes they have taken. Keywords dictation could also be introduced at KS2 to develop pupils’ writing skills. This is an effective way to encourage pupils to apply the target vocabulary in a new context.


By using different kinds of dictation as effective learning activities, teachers can move beyond assessing pupils’ spelling and listening skills and develop pupils’ grammar and vocabulary knowledge as well as note-taking and writing skills.