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Dictation Sentences For Phonics — Your How To Guide

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.
Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

Do you use dictation sentences for phonics instruction? If not, we’ll show you why and how to do it. If you already use dictation sentences, we’ll help you adapt your efforts and maximize dictation effectiveness.

We’ll look at:

  • why dictation sentences are so powerful
  • how you can integrate dictation sentences into your phonics lessons
  • ways to tailor your use of dictation sentences for different levels 
  • how to maximize dictation effectiveness
  • extending dictation practice at home

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

Why dictation sentences?

Dictation is a workhorse of phonics instruction. It helps students practice spelling, decoding, and listening skills simultaneously. 

Students have to listen, hear the sounds of the word, and correctly write each down. This practice also helps students make the connection between reading and writing. 

If you want to reinforce phonemic awareness and phonetic patterns, make sure dictation sentences are part of your phonics toolkit. 

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

How to integrate dictation sentences into phonics lessons

Start by having students write down specific sounds that you dictate. Then have them write down a specific sound from a word that you dictate. From there, you can start having students segment the words they hear and write down all of the sounds in a word you dictate. 

Sounds and words are a good starting point. It helps students beginning to read and write to work with sounds they know and then put them together. They also get to practice hearing and writing down before you give them more. 

You will want to add in dictation sentences. Keep the sentences short, especially for dictation sentences for first grade and other young students. Try this process: 

  1. Read the dictation sentence. 
  2. Have students repeat it to make sure they heard the sentence correctly and to help them remember it. 
  3. Have students write down the dictation sentence. Students who need to focus more on the phonemes in separate words may struggle to remember all the words. Repeat the sentence if necessary. 
  4. Have students reread the sentence, pointing to each word as they say it.
  5. Write the sentence on the board, reading it aloud to model the correct version, and have students correct any errors.

Dictation sentences should include words that are in your focus area, but keep practicing past words as well. Dictation sentences can be used for practice or as an assessment tool.

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

Tailoring dictation activities

As noted above, you can begin dictation practice using simple sounds and then progressing to words. Most likely the first words you will dictate will be CVC words. These are generally the first words taught and should be the first words practiced with dictation. 

As students progress to more complex words, your dictation activities can follow suit. For example, if you are working on long vowels or consonant blends, you’ll use words that use those phonetic patterns. More advanced phonics learners will write dictation sentences with more multisyllabic words. 

Get Dictation Sentences for various levels — FREE sample:  

Maximizing the effectiveness of dictation sentences

As you can see dictation sentences have a lot to offer your students — and they aren’t hard to integrate into your lesson for every level phonics student. Here are three ways to make the most of dictation sentences in your phonics lessons:

  • Be consistent! When dictation is part of your regular phonics routines, students get practice in listening, decoding, and spelling. They keep all of these skills sharp in addition to mastering specific words you may target. 
  • Provide constructive feedback. You’ll notice that modeling the correct sentence and having students review and correct their work is part of the process. Don’t skip this stage. Pay attention to common or repeated errors. These can show where additional support or practice may be needed. 
  • Encourage self-assessment. Try restating the sentence after students finish writing it down. Ask students to read each word as you say the sentence, underlining any errors. Are there specific words, sounds, or other phonetic patterns the students see that they need to improve on? Ask students what challenges they face with dictation sentences. Do they have trouble identifying different sounds? Do they struggle to remember the whole sentence? Do some words take more focus so they get distracted from the rest of the sentence? Are they adding words? This information can help students focus on their own needs for improvement. 

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

Extend dictation practice at home

Parents and other caretakers can support students in their phonics learning with dictation practice. Send home dictation sentences for parents to read at home. Provide brief instructions about the process. You can use the steps you use in the classroom. Tell parents to let their child write the whole sentence without offering correction. You can provide guidance on providing correction or ask that students to bring uncorrected work to school. 

The latter option allows you to provide constructive feedback and correction in class. It also lets you see where students are making errors. 

For dictation sentences and many other ways parents can support their child’s phonics learning, check out The Phonics Homework Bundle

This bundle makes phonics homework a breeze for you, while engaging parents and providing effective practice for students.

Dictation sentences offer powerful tools for phonics instruction. Learn strategies for integration and maximize effectiveness in the classroom.

 

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