Dictation has really been working for Sandra. Because her reading was delayed and she needed vision therapy, her experience with words isn’t the same as other kids her age. She just hasn’t had the same volume of experience with the patterns of written language. We did copywork for years. She liked it and it was satisfying for her but her spelling has remained rather…exotic.
In the last year, I’ve almost entirely switched to dictation.
Here’s how we do it:
I find a passage that looks like it mostly contains words she ought to be familiar with. I read a sentence aloud, then reread it a phrase at a time, finally repeating it entirely one last time. I repeat this til she’s got about half a page, double-spaced.
Then she goes through the passage, highlighting the errors and writing them at the bottom. I get her to spell them aloud before she then copies each one 3 times.
While she doesn’t like correcting her own work and confronting her errors in any subject, it’s really an important part of the process. Each word she checks and gets right is reinforced while she’s brought face-to-face with her mistakes. I think the main book we use is important, too. Bloodhound is from her favourite series, the Beka Cooper books, and I think she feels a little like she’s letting someone special down when she makes errors.
One day, frustrated by her mistakes, she counted the total words she’d written. It turned out that while she’d made 12 errors, she’d gotten the other 77 right. Since then she’s made a practice of doing this – seeing what she’s done right. It’s a wise choice.