Dictation is a great tool for helping kids with writing. It can be a transformational tool for kids whose writing difficulties cause them to drop out of school or to work far below their intellectual capacities. It takes some work to learn how to write an effective essay or report with dictation, but even basic dictation skills can be useful for many academic skills.
Here are some skills where dictation could help your child to learn more and do well at school:
READING COMPREHENSION – Teach your children to use dictation for summarizing what they read. Use a smartphone with dictation (preferably using Google Drive), where children can summarize what they read in a book every few pages or at the end of each chapter. This technique is particularly good for science, social studies, history, or other nonfiction topics. Encourage more than a simple recitation of facts, instead dictation of the facts first and then a brief analysis/summation of what they mean. This quick and easy technique applies two proven study skills, elaborative interrogation and self-explanation, and is a metacognitive approach that is very powerful for deeper learning. These notes can be very helpful when studying for exams.
SPELLING – Dictation can also assist with overcoming spelling difficulties. Kids who struggle with spelling can benefit from dictation that provides a method of spelling through pronouncing words. As long as kids speak clearly they will have proper spelling, and they get the chance to check over their work and can see words spelled correctly and in context.
STARTING WRITING ASSIGNMENTS – While not all children are better writers when they start with dictation, the process of handwriting or idea generation is slow and painful for many kids. Dictation can serve as a tool for brainstorming, generating initial drafts, or writing final papers. It can be a very powerful technology for improving the efficiency and quality of writing. Read these posts for more in-depth discussion of how dictation aids in writing.
STUDYING – One of the most common ways for kids to study is to consolidate their class notes into something that summarizes what they need to know for an exam. Using dictation to summarize notes can be a faster and more effective way to organize one’s thoughts. The pace of dictation allows students to form sentences quicker and to combine ideas before they forget what they were thinking. Dictation also provides an electronic copy, and students can use techniques such search tools to put ideas that fit together. The use of editing /word processing programs to cut and paste study notes and make connections can lead to deeper learning of material.
Looking for other ways to help your child improve their academic skills? Check out these other articles on the LearningWorks for Kids website: