The "Copywork and Dictation" Tea with Julie continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, November 25, 2023

Hi Friend,

A Brave Writer mom asked about her 11 year old daughter who had a low tolerance for schoolwork and struggled with spelling:

I want to start dictation with her but am not sure where and how to fit it in.

My reply:

Hi! I think it is a good idea to use a passage she knows well for dictation. Initially she may even need you to offer to verbally spell words she is unsure of as you dictate. This is still great experience for her as she will have to listen and write what you say (another way to encode the spellings). Help her in all the ways you can.

  • Exaggerate your pauses for commas.
  • Make a strong finish sound when you get to periods. 
  • If she needs some words written in advance on a notecard to copy when she hears you say them, then do that too!

You might try our practice of French-style dictation. This is where you choose which words will be written.

  • You type the entire passage.
  • Them omit some of the words and replace them with blank lines.
  • Print the whole thing.
  • Read the passage aloud and she reads along with you until she gets to a blank space.
  • When she hears the word that goes there, she will write it.

This is a wonderful, gradual practice for kids who are just struggling to write and spell. You can isolate words she knows well the first time you do it so she has success. Then gradually include a word or two she doesn’t know well and prep her before the dictation by orally spelling them together.

Keep ALL these sessions short. She may tire easily (it’s an enormous amount of work for her). Give her shoulder rubs and light candles. Eat treats after she finishes. Use pretty paper and flowing pens—let her write in colors other than blue or black.

Make this a nourishing experience, not just school work.

Remind her of how smart she is and how you know that she is capable of growing in this arena. Keep her first dictation in a file and compare it to one six months and then a year from now so she can see her progress.

Good luck!

We offer guides designed to take the pain out of dictation (Psst: Buy 2, Get 1 Free during Black Friday Weekend!). These programs select the passages for you and help you to emphasize the literary elements, grammar, spelling, and punctuation to help your kids grow in writing. 





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Julie Bogart
© 2023 Brave Writer LLC™

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