Dictation and Copywork
Recently a former student (who is now in high school) sent an email to me with the following glowing review of how dictation practice over the years has enhanced her success as a student taking notes in high school. I wanted to share it here:
In the words of a 17-year-old junior girl in high school, I’m saying the words that I vowed I would never say when I was 12: Copywork and Dictation really did help. And here’s why. I can read my own handwriting! (Most of the time.) But in truth, cursive, when it boils down to the most basic facts, is faster to write with than print. And it looks a heck of a lot nicer.
My spelling is better, my punctuation is better, even the way I phrase sentences and critique my own writing and the writing of other classmates has improved. I’m in classes now where it is paramount that I take copious notes continuously. Many times it is from a power point that the teachers display to the students. If the students do not write down the bullets of information as the teacher goes, they miss critical information that could show up on a test later. Other times, there are notes that the teachers write on the board, erasing the oldest information to make room for the new as they run out of room. Notes in these circumstances are timed, and I don’t have any leisure room to make mistakes. I need to make my notes as legible and accurate as possible so that I can use them for reference or studying later.
When I practiced dictation, it forced me to quickly and accurately write down important information. Now, in my AP Biology class, much of what my teacher has to say about notes does not come from the power point slides that she shows us, but from what she says in addition to them. If I am to succeed in that class, I am forced to write down as much as I can before she moves on to the next topic. Again, copywork worked on my accuracy, but dictation worked on my speed and legibility on top of that.
My handwriting is neater, faster and more precise now because of copywork. I am taking college level classes now and I have never appreciated these skills more. Every year of high school I attend, I use these skills more and more. I can’t survive without them. –Emma
Our “One Thing” Series begins in October and features an in-depth treatment of dictation and copywork. Our instructor, Rita Cevasco (MA Speech Pathology) will help families discover the benefits from both dictation and copywork as they relate to the particular needs of your children. If they are advanced writers, we have methods and ideas to expand the usefulness of these practices in your homeschool. If your kids struggle with writing or have learning disabilities (such as dysgraphia, dyslexia or language processing disorders), she has specific methods to help you break down the tasks to make the effective for your children. How do I know this? My own son is studying with Rita once a week to address his dysgraphia and it is working wonderfully for him.
Rita and I have been working together to make this course a valuable tool for any family wanting to make the transition from workbooks to literature rich language arts. It will also benefit those who have been at it awhile but would like a shot in the arm to make those practices revitalized.