5. Word and Sentence Dictation – 2nd grade

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Word and Sentence Dictation – 2nd grade

Grade Level: Second Grade

Subject: Spelling (encoding to support decoding instruction)

School: Roosevelt Elementary School

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Videographer: Dima Yaremenko

Elapsed Time:  8:28

Introduction: Spelling instruction is important for a number of reasons.  Obviously, correct spelling of words is a necessary underlying skill for all types of written communication. When students can spell with automaticity, they can place all of their cognitive energy on their ideas, increasing the quality of their products.  In addition, when students are directed to write words containing specific elements (e.g., phoneme-grapheme associations, prefixes, suffixes, inflectional ending) that have been introduced in decoding instruction, both reading and spelling are strengthened.

Often, spelling practice involves completing of worksheet activities that may not promote spelling acquisition (e.g., alphabetizing words, looking words up in the dictionary.)  Teacher or peer dictation of words coupled with immediate feedback is an excellent alternative spelling activity.  In this mini lesson, a number of research-validated practices have been embedded in the word and sentence dictation.

Focus: As you watch this video,

1)    Identify the steps that are used for each of the words.  Focus on the procedures for dictation of the words and for providing feedback.

2)    Identify the procedures that were used to scaffold sentence dictation.

3)    Notice other important instructional procedures.


1) Identify the steps that are used for each of the words.  Focus on the procedures for dictation of the words and for providing feedback.

The following steps were used:

a)    Teacher says the word.

b)    Teacher says the word in a sentence.

c)    Students repeat the word.

d)    Teacher and students put up one finger for each sound in the word.

e)    Students say the sounds to themselves as they write the word.

f)     Teacher writes the word on the board or overhead for feedback.

g)    If a student has made an error, the student crosses out the word and rewrites the word.

2)   Identify the procedures that were used to scaffold sentence dictation.

The following procedures were used to set students up for success on the sentence dictation.
Dictation of sentence
a)  The teacher said the entire sentence and had students repeat the sentence.
b)  The teacher then dictated the first part of the sentence and gave students time to write the first part.
c)  As the students wrote, the teacher moved around the classroom and monitored student work.

a)  The teacher gave feedback on each word.

b)  Students were awarded points for correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.  The points were designed to make the students more interested in the task and more careful.

3) Notice other important instructional procedures.

Monitoring – The teacher constantly moved around the room monitoring students’ work.

Instructional Routine – The same instructional steps were used in dictating each of the words.  When instructional routines are used, students can focus their attention on the content of the lesson rather than the task.  Also, the teacher, familiar with the instructional routine, can pick up the pace in the lesson.

Immediate Feedback – Feedback on each word and sentence were provided immediately.

Time on Task – While the classroom climate was positive, the students and the teacher were on-task throughout the lesson.

Positive Reinforcement – Throughout the lesson, students were reinforced for their on-task behavior and accurate spelling.  Reinforcement was provided through positive comments, movement to new items (indicating positive performance), points, and non-verbal communication (smiles, nods).

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