Dictation - Help when spelling is too hard

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
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Dictation - Help when spelling is too hard

Unread post by cbollin »

dorenekimberly wrote:I am brand new here! I will be starting Adventures in MFW with my son this school year.

I have a question about Primary Language Lessons. For the dictation lessons, if the child is not spelling at this level, how can I expect him to do it? I'm a bit confused here.

Thanks for your thoughts!
I don't know if this is right or wrong or whatever, but when my kids are doing dictation and don't know the word, I just call out the spelling for them IF it is a word that I'm sure they really don't know. If they are just stuck on the word -- I give hints.

Also, I've learned to adjust the length of copywork and dictations to fit them instead of thinking, "Oh no, we have to finish all of it." I increase the expectations as the year goes along.

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Unread post by kellybell »

I do it a lot like Crystal except that I get irked having to spell out words (we all have our "buttons" that can be pushed -- and having four children asking how to spell words is one of my more benign buttons). So, before the dictation, we (child and I) look over the passage and I ask him or her what words look hard and I write them on the white board. We discuss the spelling of the tough words and any rules that the words follow (or break). Then, during dictation, dc can look up and see the word instead of me repeating "C A T" "what was that again, Mom?" "C A T." "Was that C T A?" "No, listen. C A T." "a little slower, Mom..."

Works for me.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by lyntley »

Another option is to just use it as more copy work as opposed to dictation. I will be doing that for my little guy. He would be quickly frustrated with dictation at his stage.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

I 'second' all the above comments. I found PLL to be one of the most adaptable of the books we used last year. Be sensitive to your kiddo & you'll do just fine. Whether it's a dictation that becomes copy work, or 12 question/answers that you cut in half or do over two days, make it work for YOU. Don't let the book dictate your day.

Have a great year in MFW! :)
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Thank you all!!!!

Unread post by dorenekimberly »

Hello everyone!

Thank you to everyone for your great suggestions and insight! I appreciate all the great input..... We are looking forward to starting!

Thanks so much again!
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Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:40 pm

Dictation & bad spelling

Unread post by StarrMama »

hsmomto3 wrote:Ok. My ds is 9....we are still working on PLL and he struggles SO GREATLY on the dictation because his spelling is so bad. I really need some advice.
Thanks, Debbie
Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:23 am
My gal dislikes dictation as well. We have chosen to ease our way into it (she has had no previous experience).

For PLL, we have skipped their dictation lessons and moved on. As far as Thursday Dictation in the TM, I have chosen a few sentences from The Courage of Sarah Noble. I say only a few words at a time and if my gal starts the word and needs help, I help her (she hates making spelling mistakes).

I hope to slowly get to the point of dictation like it's described in the TM. For now, using a book she likes and doing it over two to three days helps. She enjoys drawing, so she adds pictures to the dictation page. She still doesn't like it, but it's a chance to pray and teach character development. I mean, there are tons of things I do not like, but do anyhow! We talk about it, take breaks, offer incentives if needed, and just plow through. We printed up Colossians 3:23-24 and put it in our work area: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

I pray you find something to help your son! God has the answer.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:17 pm

When my kids are struggling with the spelling during a dictation exercise, I just treat it like copywork. They can either look at the PLL book (or memory verse sheet) and copy the tough word. Or sometimes I will just call out the spelling. And a lot of times we'll do it on dry erase board so that they are more willing to try to spell the words. Another idea is to write down a quick reference list for that lesson (a word bank or word list).

Usually at the beginning of the exercise I read it out loud. Then have my child read it out loud as well before beginning to write. We just build it up slowly and do more copywork with the lessons until they are more ready for dictation.

just how it works over here.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:37 pm

Because of my son's perfection tendencies, he is one of those kids that HATES to make spelling errors. I'm like the others ~ on some days I'll lighten the load & make it copywork. Other times, I'll say, "You do the words you know, and when you get stuck, without grumbling, ask for help." Finally, some days, he has to just push through.

Honestly, I pray each time I'm faced with this situation. I feel like God has been very specific with the training of my children and their mama! That would be my suggestion. Ask God to guide the specific activity every time you encounter it.
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Unread post by bethben »

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:22 pm

For dictation, I'm having my ds 7 go through Green Eggs and Ham. It's a little easier, on his spelling level and it teaches him basic sentence structure without him having to think too much on spelling words. we'll go over the passage and write down any words that are tough at the top.
Lisa B
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Unread post by Lisa B »

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:57 am

I have done several different approaches to dictation for my reluctant kids:

*Have them copy the passage one day; dictation the next

*Write down a few words on the whiteboard that I suspect might give them trouble. They can refer to the list when writing.

*I go ahead and spell the word for them if they ask! I mean, what is the goal but to teach them how to spell the word! Sooner or later, the word will be mastered and they won't be asking for help so much.

*Shorten the dictation passage, or substitute with a more interesting passage: like from a book they're currently reading.
MJ in IL
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:15 am

I have 2 boys that have not loved writing, in general. We have done several things with dictation and copywork with them...

-Reducing the length of the passage for my older was key. Writing was simply physically exhasuting for him. I can think of a particular PLLL that we did only one paragraph instead of the 3 they asked.
-Along the same lines, spread it out over a few days.
-I didn't preview the entire passage to that particular child as he would have started out overwhelmed! I just started the dictation and stopped when he looked done, but not totally frustrated.
-I say the first phrase, then break it down with orally spelled words and punctuation. For my older son, I recently stopped every stanza of the poem we were working on to read the passage with spelling and punctuation after he had tried.
-I don't view it as a "test" to be checked at the end for them (I think I viewed dicataion more like this with my dd) but a process of learning spelling and punctuation.

Overall, I see the benefits of this. My older ds is in the midst of ILL. I'm not sure if he was simply a "late-bloomer" or PLL/ILL have taught him well, but he rarely balks at the writing assignments/dictation now.

BTW, although my older ds had a harder time, he spelled OK. My younger ds doesn't mind the writing as much but his spelling is awful! I spell a lot of words with him! I figure the oral plus the writing on this will reinforce our regular spelling lessons!
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Adventures MFW Dictation and Spelling

Unread post by TriciaMR »

klewfor3 wrote:Hello, This is my first year homeschooling and I am wondering if I am on the right path in dictation and spelling. My ds is 8 (second grade) and we are following the tm and doing the required dictation and spelling every week. In my opinion, his spelling is awful...not even phonetic. Today on his test he missed 5 out of 12. How do you handle retaking tests? Do you require them to retake tests? I know it says to keep reviewing words they struggle with...but he is so ready to be done and melts into tears when I try to work on them again. Then I find he'll get all of them correct after reviewing them again but within a few days one of the words will come up again and it is like he has never seen it before. I know that he is memorizing the words not sounding them out.

Also, with dictation I tell him to focus on remembering the sentence and watching his capitalization, spacing, and punctuation. Spelling is not as important. When we finish, I go over everything but almost every word (those that are not sight words) is spelled incorrectly. Even though we correct it together, I still feel like maybe I should be doing more...sigh.

I guess I just am wondering if this is normal for a where we are at...or if I should be more concerned.

Random thoughts... Your son may just not be a natural speller, or he could be dyslexic. If you have the MFW 1st grade curriculum, you might want to review the phonics with him to help his spelling. Especially work on segmenting words, spelling them syllable by syllable.

For dictation, if it were me, I would change it to copy work. For two of my three kids (they are dyslexic) if they write the words incorrectly once, it is like it sticks in their brain that way, and takes forever to undo it. So, anything that says dictation, I change to copy work for those two. (I use StartWrite software to type up the text to copy, and then have age-appropriate lines below.) Once their spelling improves, then I might do one or two sentences out of a passage as dictation, and then have them copy the rest. The other thing we do (especially for my one that is not dyslexic) is to have a word bank. We read the passage together and he picks out words he doesn't think he'll remember how to spell and I write them on the whiteboard for him. When we do the dictation, he can refer to the word bank. I also call out punctuation, especially commas, as a 2nd grader isn't likely to know how to place commas.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Re: Adventures MFW Dictation and Spelling

Unread post by cbollin »

for this age, yes, the problems you are having are in the normal range of the learning process. It is complicated processes to pull it all together with spelling, penmanship, etc.

One opinion here...
because of his age and spelling strugles...
Change the dictation to copywork for a little while.

when you are ready to reintroduce dictation (and it might be next year) it is ok to help with spelling with things like word banks to look it up, or to practice words several times on scratch paper just before dictation. I am in the so-called "camp" (giggle) that is "ok" with helping them to hear dictation exercises in very small segments. I even cue the "commas" and "periods" and "quote marks".

I like taking it in small steps, and practicing segments with dictation.

edit to add..... I just read trish's answer...
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Re: Adventures MFW Dictation and Spelling

Unread post by klewfor3 »

Thanks for the replies. I am so thankful for this message board...homeschooling is so intimidating at times. My son had been attending a private school for 3 years and sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough for him at home. Thanks ladies!
Mom of Tyler 13, Paige 10, Brooklyn 9 and Chase 3
God bless us!
We've used:
MFW 1st (both versions)
Currently using 1850-Modern Times (2016/2017)
Julie in MN
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Re: Adventures MFW Dictation and Spelling

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I agree with doing copywork instead of dictation for a while, or doing much easier dictation, so you don't put too many things in his head the "wrong way."

When I worked on spelling with students I tutored, I liked to try to "sound out" the words they had written. I think it just helped them make that connection that the letters you write make sounds, which is something that can really take a long time to sink in. It's different than connecting a face or a shape or a group of letters with a spoken word (like he does when he memorizes his spelling).
  • So, yes, "happy" is the way you write this: :-)
    But "happy" is also the way you write the sounds /h/ and /a/ and /p/ and /E/.

    And "hpe" is NOT spelling this: :-) ,
    but it IS making the sounds /h/ and /p/ and maybe /e/.
It also made things more light-hearted when they thought I was silly pronouncing their words so strangely ;)

Then I would ask them how we could make it say the sounds they wanted. If they came up with nothing, I might ask "how do we spell the O sound in boat" or "the /k/ in school" or something I felt they would know how to spell, so they could connect this new word they were learning with a group of words they already could spell.

Just one thing that came to mind,
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Adventures MFW Dictation and Spelling

Unread post by gratitude »

I love Rod & Staff, but when I started their spelling with ADV it was very difficult for my oldest son than 7. Your story sounds very familiar. His reading was very advanced, but his spelling was below grade level.

So I did switch to All About Spelling. It combines phonics and spelling. He is doing fabulous, and is learning to be a very good speller. Dictation is now, at age 8, something that he is able to do easily.

I know it isn't always the 'program' that is the problem. For spelling though I really do think the switch was highly beneficial, and put him in a place where he can be very successful. He is learning to spell as a natural reader, which I am grateful for.

In Christ,
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