Dictation is different from copywork, and really focuses on honing a child’s spelling. In a Charlotte Mason education it was typically introduced for children aged 10 and over and incorporated once a week. Our Level 3 copywork collections could easily be used for this as well, and would provide an additional point of connection with the text.
How to do a dictation exercise:
Select the passage you want the child to dictate. (If you are using a Level 3 collection, use a text from later in the document that the child has not yet copied – but perhaps only two or three sentences. Aim for a passage that has no more than five unfamiliar words.)
Ask them to read it through from start to finish in order to understand what it is about.
Ask them to identify any words in the passage that they are not confident in spelling.
Next, the children can make a simple list of these challenging words and study them carefully until they can ‘visualise’ the word with their eyes closed, or spell it orally. Some children can do this quickly, others may take a day or two.
Once the child is confident they can spell the whole passage correctly, read it slowly and ask them to write as you dictate. The child should listen attentively as each sentence should only be read once. Watch the child’s writing and if they make any mistakes, correct these immediately.
Ask the child to compare their punctuation of the passage with the original, and discuss any areas where the child missed something or punctuated improperly.
Be sure to celebrate, especially if your child wrote the passage with perfect spelling and punctuation, and file it as appropriate.
Remember, the whole exercise should not take more than 15 minutes.