Is dictation good for struggling spellers?

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Dear Carrie,

Is dictation good for struggling spellers or just good for average to natural spellers?

My 10 year old daughter really struggles with spelling. I have used several curriculums with her, and she still has such a hard time. I feel like nothing has worked with her. My question is about dictation in Preparing Hearts for His Glory. Do you think would this be a good option for a struggling speller? Will dictation improve her spelling, or should I look into something else for her? She is well below grade level in this area and is also a reluctant writer. So, I know she will already struggle with all the writing she has to do this year. I want to build her confidence this year, and it seems like spelling lists have not helped her retain skills. She does have some mild dyslexic tendencies, but we have never had her tested. So, should I do the dictation with her? Is dictation good for struggling spellers or just good for average to natural spellers? Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me with Spelling”

Dear “Please Help Me with Spelling,”

The Charlotte Mason method of studied dictation takes at least a year to truly see the fruit of it. It is a slow burn that pays big dividends in the long haul. It actually does work well both for natural spellers and for kiddos who struggle with spelling. We get to hear so many updates from families who use HOD; by email, by message board, and at conventions. So, I can say with confidence that even kiddos with learning challenges such as dysgraphia progress well with studied dictation. We hear from many families with kiddos who were poor spellers who are thrilled to be seeing some progress!

Consistent use of studied dictation has many benefits!

The method that we use in the guides is very important in the success of studied dictation. The consistent use of studied dictation also makes a difference. There are many posts on the board about studied dictation, so I encourage you to search and read them. If you do try PHFHG’s studied dictation, I would advise you to give it at least a year. I would also encourage you not to continue with another spelling program at the same time. Instead, try using studied dictation as your spelling program. I think you will be surprised at the progress your students will make. It is a method that has many benefits in the long haul for all types of spellers.

Try using studied dictation instead of a formal spelling program!

I can understand the hesitance to let go of a formal spelling program, as I had that same hesitance. With my oldest son, in order to tell whether studied dictation really worked, I tested him in Spelling Power. First, I tested him at the beginning of the year to give his spelling a “level.” Then, I used only studied dictation all year. At year-end, I tested him in Spelling Power again. I was surprised to discover he’d jumped several levels in spelling from using studied dictation (while not using Spelling Power)! This made a believer out of me. My oldest son only used studied dictation after that and has graduated high school.

I’ve seen the success of using studied dictation with my own children and hope you do too!

My next 3 kiddos have all only done the spelling/dictation within the HOD guides. While my second oldest son is definitely a natural speller, my other boys vary on their natural spelling abilities. My oldest is a great memorizer, but needed dictation to carryover his memorization of words to his writing. Though my second oldest is a natural speller, he needed studied dictation to improve proofreading and accuracy in his writing. He also needed to learn to listen carefully to a single reading of the dictation passage prior to writing. He has benefitted greatly from studied dictation in that regard. My third son has a more difficult time with spelling. Yet, he is consistently progressing, slowly but surely. My last little guy is a terrific copier but needs to learn to capture the word images in his mind. Studied dictation will be of help to him too! I share this to help you visualize how studied dictation could be of benefit to your own kiddos. I hope you see the benefits of studied dictation completed consistently over time. Thanks for asking this question!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. For more information about how students can study for dictation, click here!

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