Simple Dictation in the ESL classroom

Simple Dictation in the ESL classroom

Age Group: Elementary, High School, Junior High School
Subject: Listening, Sentence Writing
Goal of Lesson: Students listen and write sentences read by the teacher.
Time Needed: 15-20 minutes
Materials Needed: none

Many ESL teachers forget that a simple dictation exercise done daily or at least once a week, can quickly increase listening, writing,and vocabulary skills for students.



  • First, the teacher needs to prepare the sentences to say. If you have a young, low level class, just prepare 5. If you have older students at higher levels, you may want to prepare 8-10.
  • Choose the vocabulary and grammar that you have learned or are currently learning in the classroom.  This will reinforce your teaching.
  • All students should have their notebooks out with a pencil ready to go.
  • The teacher reads the first sentence slowly and clearly. Tell the students you will repeat the sentence only 4 more times. (For younger students, repeat the sentence as many times as you like until everyone has written one down.)
  • After you have read all the sentences to the students, write each one clearly on the whiteboard.
  • Have your students try to correct themselves. After they have finished, the teacher should check each on to make sure they are correct
  • OPTION: older students can work in pairs to correct each others work.


Remember, dictation is easy and quick. It's very effective so try and find the time to do it.





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