Dictation: Make it an interesting activity

(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

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II. Numbers Dictation

The teacher reviews pronunciation of numbers up to three digits (e.g., 472), placing particular emphasis on ‘-teen/-ty’ pairs (e.g., 13-30, 14-40, etc.).

The teacher demonstrates to the students that they need only be able to count up to three digits in order to deal with large numbers.

S/he then writes the words ‘thousand’ and ‘million’, on the board and tells the students they should write a comma when they hear these words, which separate number units of up to three digits.

S/he writes numbers on the board -starting first with single-digit numbers before moving up to multiple-digit numbers- and calls on students to read the numbers. The teacher can give a short dictation of 10-15 numbers before moving on to the next step.

Students are put into pairs facing each other (small groups work just as well). A list containing 25-30 lines of numbers (8-10 numbers in each line) is given to each pair.

The numbers on these lines should start with single-digit numbers and progress to nine- or 12-digit numbers by the end.

Two or three lines should contain only a mixture of ‘-teen/-ty’ numbers. Student A of each pair dictates at normal speaking speed the first five lines, pausing briefly at the end of each line to say “Next line”. After all five lines have been dictated, Student B reads back what s/he has written.

Student A checks for mistakes. Student A must not show the list to Student B. All correction should be done verbally. 

The list is given to Student B, who dictates the next five lines to Student A. When finished, Student A reads back what s/he has written and Student B checks for mistakes.

The students continue to alternate roles until all lines have been dictated.

This exercise gives practice in producing and recognizing large numbers It is also a useful warm-up for leading into activities that require students to comprehend and calculate numbers. 

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