Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our Homeschooling Journey: Studied Dictation

This past week, Miss Priss and I began the practice of studied dictation as part of her lessons. I gleaned all the how-to's from Lindafay's superb blog, "Higher Up and Further In." She has several posts about studied dictation/spelling from a Charlotte Mason viewpoint, and I encourage you to give these a read-through. Here's how it worked at our house:

Since it was our first time, I had Miss Priss "prepare" only two sentences from the first paragraph of The Princess and the Goblin (by George Macdonald), which she is reading. She read the two sentences and identified troublesome spelling words. For each word, I wrote the word on our whiteboard, asked her to study it, and then picture the word in her mind. I also asked her to spell it out loud a few times with her eyes closed. Then I asked her to go over the passage independently, making note of punctuation, capitalization, etc. Finally, I chose one of the sentences for her to copy as I read it aloud, breaking it up into clauses. I warned her to pay close attention, as I was going to read each part only once. When we finished, I had her compare what she'd written with the original, marking any errors with a red pen. She then corrected her errors, of which there were three.

It was a grand success. Her handwriting was better than usual, she attended closely, and she enjoyed correcting her own work. She even asked if we do the activity more frequently than once a week. Even Tiny Girl asked if she could do studied dictation.

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