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Mondays with Miss Mason–D for Dictation

September 12, 2011

Note: this post is part of an ongoing series. For more information on Charlotte Mason and Mondays with Miss Mason, please read the first post.

I was going to do D for Duty, but I honestly have much to think about on that point so I will save it for another go-round. Instead I bring you D for Dictation. We aren’t ourselves at the stage for dictation, which Miss Mason recommends to being around our 4th grade year (8-9).

However, here is what she has to say and some other lovely resources on the topic.

Dictation is a tool to teach spelling. It flows out of a copywork, which is done at earlier ages.  Miss Mason’s philosophy of spelling is that the best way to learn is to commit the visual picture of the word to memory.

The whole secret of spelling lies in the habit of visualising words from memory, and children must be trained to visualize in the course of their reading. They enjoy this way of learning to spell.

She complains about the way many teachers did dictation because it encouraged misspellings to be committed to memory rather than the correct spelling.  I’m sure everyone has a few words that you still can never remember how to spell. For me it is broccoli (brocolli?) and spaghetti (speghetti?).

The basic method is for the child to prepare a passage (a paragraph up to 2-3 pages) ahead of time that they study and commit the words and spelling to memory.  They should pay special attention to any potentially difficult-to-spell words.

Then the teacher gives out the dictation, clause by clause, each clause repeated once. She dictates with a view to the pointing, which the children are expected to put in as they write; but they must not be told ‘comma,’ ‘semicolon,’ etc. (from Vol. 1)

More resources for dictation:

You might also like these other posts in this series:

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