Word Dictation

Estimated reading: 3 minutes

You learned a lot of valuable information in your IMSE training. Once we get back to the classroom, we tend to forget some of that information because our brains were permeated with new knowledge!  Here’s a quick recap of dictating words. This process is called encoding.

  • Sequence Matters: Only dictate words with concepts that have already been taught.  If you are teaching concepts following IMSE’s sequence, using an IMSE Student Practice Book A, B, or C and Teacher Manual can help substantially. You can also create dictation pages on IOG.
  • Use a Sentence: Think of dictation as you would a spelling test. Best practice indicates that you should use the word in a sentence. This is an important step that is often forgotten. If it’s a nonsense word, it’s ok to tell students that (and obviously you can’t use it in a sentence)!
  • Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate: Not all students need the same cues. Some students may or may not need grapheme (write) lines. Some students may need phoneme lines, but no extra visuals for digraphs, blends, qu, or Magic E. Some students may need phoneme lines with a few letters to trace, and some students may need to trace every letter! Fair is not getting the same thing, it’s getting what you need to be successful.

  • To fingertap, students should have their paper ready, pencil in their writing hand, and their fingertapping hand under their off-hand. We recommend having it at the top of the paper to keep the paper from moving while writing. 
  • Always Model: The teacher should model the first few words. Then, students repeat the word while pounding the syllable with their off-hand: dad. Then they fingertap going left to right stating the SOUNDS /d/ /a/ /d/ and end it by pounding and stating the word again.  Remember, right-handed students, use their left hand and start with their pinky, while left-handed students use their right hand and start with their thumb.
  • Read the words when you’re done spelling them! Go top to bottom, bottom to top, and all around! This helps with automaticity. These words can also be placed on a Rapid Word Chart to take home for practice.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: It’s not 5 words for dictation on Monday and you’re done!   Dictate words every day! If students are doing well with one syllable, bump it up to two syllables, or three syllables. Students need practice and exposure to as many words as possible.

Remember that the goal is for students to start making the connection between phonemes, graphemes, reading, spelling, and writing. Yet, often students aren’t making the connection or transferring knowledge into other areas. Using IOG to create dictation pages can help you prepare for the week. Purchasing IMSE’s Level K, 1, or 2 Teacher Guide and Student Practice Books A, B, or C can make practicing as easy as pulling out a book! The words are there for you as well as the encoding pages for students.