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Spelling Dictation Faux Pas – Part Three

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Today’s post finishes our Spelling Dictation Faux Pas series.

Read Part One and Part Two here.

Let’s examine the last of the common teaching dictation errors that can slip into our presentation of new spelling words. To follow along, see your SWR book p. 75.

Faux Pas #11: Doing all the mental thinking for the student.

Engage him fully: have him identify syllable breaks, drive the teacher’s fingergrams and chalk, proofread the word, and analyze it.

This is a very common habit that teachers develop. Yes, you’re the teacher and you’re giving the student all the information he needs to be able to write a new word accurately the first time. However, that does not mean he can sit there and tune out while you do all the talking. His brain needs to be actively involved in the entire process. You only fill in the pieces that are missing or that he needs to be accurate. The dictation process is meant to replicate the process he needs to go through himself when he’s spelling a word from memory. That means he needs to think to himself, “I think to spell […], three syllables, first syllable…” and so on.

When we put together this video for Sample Word Saturday, we purposely had a “student” voicing his part. Watch carefully for when I (as the teacher) talk and when I’m quiet, letting my student do the talking.

Faux Pas #12: Assuming the student properly corrected the words.

Double check the student log.

Part of the dictation dialogue is to ask, “Does yours look like mine?” Without batting an eye, many students will nod affirmatively, “Yep!” when in fact there are errors. This is much easier to spot when you’re working one-on-one, but impossible to catch when you have a group or an entire class. Work it into your planning to look over their books on a regular basis. When you do find errors, don’t fix them for the students! Leave a post-it and have him go in and fix them, or set up time to go through some of the errors with the group, asking the kids to be better editors of their own work.

Faux Pas #13: Allowing the student to correct a portion of a misspelled word.

He should erase the entire word to sound it out and rebuild.

You want the student to write the word from beginning to end correctly, saying each sound as he writes it. If he goes back and just fixes one letter or part of a syllable, he misses the flow of that word written and spoken from start to finish, which is exactly what you want the brain to remember.

In Conclusion…

When you have practiced, studied, and are able to fine tune your dictation presentation, it really is cause for celebration. However, it does take continued practice. Old habits carefully creep back in. Keep working on it. The fruits of your labors are plentiful!

In this short video, I demonstrate how to teach the word “hallelujah,” word #2000 from the Wise Guide for Spelling. I had a group of high schoolers that were wrapping up the school year, and believe me, we celebrated after finishing this last list.

Before watching the video, review the list of the Spelling Dictation Faux Pas on SWR p. 75. Watch the video carefully for any mistakes that I may have made. There is an error. See if you can find it.

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