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BRILLIANT DICTATION

  1. Child chooses a short paragraph in a piece of writing s/he can read easily from a text s/he enjoys.
  2. Child looks at the few sentences and tries to learn the spellings.
  3. An adult gives the text as a dictation to the child – she reads the whole through, then reads each phrase twice slowly, and then reads the whole paragraph again.
  4. The child corrects the work.
  5. The child takes a red pen, pretends to be a teacher and checks her work again.
  6. The child takes a different coloured pen and corrects the work against the original text.
  7. The adult looks at the work and gives considerable praise if possible.  If three mistakes or fewer, the child copies out those words correctly; if more than three mistakes, the child copies out the whole paragraph.

This exercise should be done four or five times a week, for six to eight weeks for maximum effect.  Ideally the paragraphs are written sequentially in a notebook so that progress can be observed.  The exercise should not take more than 20 minutes.