Dictations?! Really? Isn’t this method outdated, boring and non-communicative?
Yes, it certainly isn’t modern or innovative, but it is useful. It provides feedback on listening and during a dictation the skill of writing gets some practise.
Moreover, Paul Nation in his book “What Every EFL Teacher Should Know?” puts dictation among Language-Focused listening and speaking activities. He writes that “there is value in giving deliberate attention to language features in listening and speaking. This deliberate attention provides a way of learning new language features quickly and efficiently.” Put simply, dictation helps learners practise listening and writing and it improves their language at the same time.
How to do a dictation?
The classroom procedure should be following. The teacher first reads the whole dictation at a normal speed, and students only listen. Then the teacher reads small chunks of the text quite naturally and students write what they hear. The teacher reads each chunk twice. In the end, the teacher reads the whole text again at a normal speed.
Once the dictation is over, there are several ways to check the writing. The teacher can collect the dictations and check them. Or they can display the correct text and students correct their own work. Or the students work in pairs and correct their partner’s writing.
I followed these instructions and I created and recorder the following dictations for my elementary students of English.
The first two dictations focus on the verb TO BE, while the last one features the verb HAVE GOT, too.
I hope these dictations will help you in your teaching and that your students will improve their listening and writing.
Nation, P (2013). What Should Every EFL Teacher Know? [E-book].Compass Publishing.
Have you been wondering what the big shock for Alan was? The story continues here. Once again you can learn 16 new words and practise them in a game. Then you can check your comprehension with a mind map which once again serves as a worksheet too.
The next chapter of the story Two Dates will be the last one, so do not miss it. It will be published on Wednesday 2nd April 2014.
If you have missed the previous chapters of this story for teenagers, you can find Chapter 1 here and Chapter 2 here.
Two Dates – a mind map
I hope you like the story and that you will come back for the last chapter of Two Dates.
Once you know all the words it is time to go to the next section.
Two Dates – a video
Two Dates – a game
I don’t know whether anyone will be interested in this mini series called Two Dates. However, as all the research shows that extensive reading helps students improve their English I put it here. There is a short story cut into four parts and a mind map which can serve as a comprehension worksheet.
Moreover, you can learn the vocabulary from the worksheet and there are two games to practise the new vocabulary.
Two Dates – video story – part 1
Two Dates – mind map
Two Dates – games
In the second game you should complete each sentence with the correct word.
Two Dates – story
Two Dates – Chapter 1
It had not happened.
Alan did not know why he had such a hard time talking to people, especially girls. He had no problem talking to his mother or sisters at home, but when a girl asked him a simple question in school, he would get nervous, and his whole face would become as red as a tomato as he tried to get the words out.
There were two beautiful girls in his class, Susan and Martha. Not only were they beautiful, they were smart and popular too. Susan excelled in English, whereas Martha was better at numbers and was usually the one with her hands up in the air for every question asked during Maths class.
Alan was not popular, neither was he particularly handsome. He was neither the tallest boy in class nor the most athletic one. He did not excel in any subject, and his grades were average at best. This did not help his confidence, and it got weaker year by year.
But that year, Alan wanted to make a difference. He wanted to be noticed, and he wanted to make friends for once. Their school was organizing a dance, and boys usually asked girls out to be their dates.
In the past, Alan usually chose to stay home, watch some television with his parents or play video games. He did not have the courage to ask any girl out, and he certainly did not want to go to the dances alone. He always felt left out when he returned to school the day after, listening to all the fun and good times that his classmates had at the dance. He no longer wanted to be that guy that stayed at home, miserable and alone, without a date.
Alan wanted to be different that year.
He tried by making small talk with the boys. He offered to help Bruce with his homework. Bruce, was a bully, but was also the best looking boy in class. He sneered at him and stood above him. Alan tried to look smaller in his seat. “You? Help me with my homework? Do you think I am stupid and I need some help?”
“No, I just wanted to help,” Alan’s voice sounded strange.
The whole class laughed at him. Alan sank deeper into his seat and pretended not to care. His ears were burning with shame.
He looked down on his homework and tried to ignore the students around him.
From the edge of his vision, Alan saw a pair of pretty shoes. He looked up in surprise at Martha’s face.
Beautiful, popular Martha.
“Hi Alan,” she smiled.
“H…Hi,” he said shyly.
She looked very pretty indeed, showing off her beautiful figure in a lovely yellow floral dress. Her long blond hair was in perfect curls around her sweet face.
“Maybe you could help me. Do you want to go out after school?” Martha asked Alan.
Alan nearly choked. He could not believe what he was hearing. Martha? Beautiful popular Martha was asking him out on a date! What should he say?
Christmas is nearly over, but when the holiday ends I would like my students to tell me about their Christmas. To be able to do this properly they will need a lot of Christmas vocabulary. Here is a mind map introducing all the key words and concepts connected with Christmas in Great Britain and the USA. Go through all the words and content and then play the game to practise the Christmas vocabulary.
Christmas Vocabulary game
Once you know the vocabulary it is time to practise it. Here is a simple quiz where you should fill in the names of the things you see in the pictures. If you get more than 80% of all the answers correct you can play a game called Indiara. Good luck.
Christmas Traditions – listening
I come from the Czech Republic and I have prepared a short text describing the unusual traditions connected with Christmas here. You can listen to the recording and then play a comprehension game. To make the listening easier for you, you can listen and read the text at the same time. This kind of listening is very good for your pronunciation too, as you can read along.
If you feel that you need more listening practice, try the following dictation exercises. Listen to the recording and then fill in the missing words. You can stop the recording whenever you like and play different parts again. In this way your listening comprehension will improve.
I hope you will find all these resources useful.
More Games to learn English
If you like these exercises there are many more games to learn English at this site. We recommend the following ones:
Past tense of the irregular verbs – this post contains a mind map and several highly addictive games to learn the English irregular verbs in the past tense.
And what about present perfect tense? Is it still a mystery for you? Try the following post on Present perfect tense.