What is dictation? Why is it important?

What is dictation?

Dictation is an opportunity for students to rehearse their spelling and writing skills.

It involves the teacher reading out specifically chosen passages, linked to phonic concepts, for students to write.

Dictation engages students' listening, auditory memory, handwriting, language and spelling skills.

It can be used to support students in applying their recently acquired spelling concepts into writing.

It can also be used when students have mastered a phonic concept but require further application work.

Why is it important?

Single word spelling is quite a simple cognitive task in comparison to extended writing tasks. When transferring spelling into writing, students require the activation of many more skills.
This is why it is common for students to write words correctly in spelling tests but written work shows .

Dictation tasks encourage the development of strong listening and auditory memory skills which are important for learning and literacy.

As students complete dictation tasks, they are faced with the challenge of applying their recently acquired spelling concepts to the rewriting of passages.

Dictation develops attention, focus and listening skills. Noisy and distracted students will be required to become attentive very quickly.

Dictation is easier than self-generated writing as you are supplying the writer with the content.

Teachers can present dictation passages in a way that provides students with opportunities to rehearse specific aspects of writing.

Listening skills such as not asking for words to be repeated, maintaining focus, listening to increasing large sections of text (i.e. from 3 words to full sentences/8 words) are honed.

Well-chosen passages will expose students to good literature and will help them to reproduce well constructed grammatically correct sentences with correct punctuation.

Want more information?




Updated on: 17/08/2022

Was this article helpful?

Share your feedback


Thank you!