Dictogloss is a form of dictation, in which the students hear and reconstruct the whole text rather than doing so line by line (Wajnryb 1990). Dictogloss is useful in that learning becomes an active involvement and that it stimulates motivation, which can be used as a pre-reading activity, to present grammar and vocabulary, to name a few examples.
- Create a short text (4 to 5 sentences), that has the language item you will focus on, for instance “comparatives”, “would for past habits”, “personality adjectives”, etc.
- Prepare students with a warm-up. Introduce the topic and pre-teach some vocabulary if needed.
- After chatting about it for a few minutes, read the story twice at normal speed. The first time, they should not write anything but just listen. Remember to pause between sentences. Read it out the second time and ask students to note down the key ideas.
- Have students reconstruct the story. Underline that the aim is not to write the story word for word, but to write the key ideas.
- Students, then work in groups, compare their notes and try to reconstruct the text on OHT strips (you could have students write on the board if technology is not available).
- Chose a volunteer group to display the story and ask other groups to give feedback, make necessary changes.
- Finally, project the original text and ask students to identify any differences between the two texts.
- Depnding on the text and language, proceedaccordingly. If it is for pre-reading purposes, ask them what they think the text could be about. If your aim is to present a language item, ask students to dicover the rule, etc.
- As a follow-up activity, students may write a similar text.
An example text
“When I was a child we used to go camping every summer. We’d choose a different place each year, and we’d drive around until we found a beach we liked. Then, we’d pitch our tent, as near as possible to the beach. We’d usually spend most of the time on the beach or exploring the country round about. We never went to the same beach twice.”
Wajnryb, R. (1990). Resource Books for Teachers: Grammar Dictation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.