Dictation

You can start dictation around age 10 (or younger if a child is so inclined).  Brave Writer has some great advice on how to use dictation.  Start with very short selections, and grow over time.  For the younger years I usually let my kids pick their favorite passages.  Starting in middle school I use dictation as a chance to expose them to great speeches and writing from history and modern times.


Years 1-4

[optional]

From K12Reader.com.   These lists are simple and not “babyish;” they would also be good for an young teen student doing spelling catch-up once they are developmentally ready. Don’t feel compelled by the grade level; once my kids are ready to start dictation, we begin at the beginning, and skip some as needed.


Years 5-8

From about age 10, we start working through dictation on longer passages.  One of these choices below would take about a year, dictating around 3 sentences a week.  I read the sentence aloud, and we discuss any new words as we go; nothing too formal.

American Historical Documents

The Declaration of  Independence (1776)

The Articles of Confederation (1777)

The Articles of Capitulation, Yorktown (1781)

Constitution of the United States (1787)

The Federalist Papers, Nos 1 and 2 (1787)

Washington’s First Inaugural Address (1789)

Treaty With the Six Nations (1794)

The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)


Years 9+

In high school, dictation can become more advanced.  Ideally, work toward having the student read a section of the passage and review any unfamiliar words without help before starting dictation.

Famous Orations

Achilles’ Reply to the Envoys (Homer, ~300 BC)

In Favor of the Peloponnesian War (Pericles, 432 BC)

In His Own Defense (Socrates, 399 BC)

Address to His Soldiers (Hannibal, 218 BC)

His Oration Over the Dead Body of Caesar (Mark Antony, 44 BC)

Why Another Crusade (Bernard of Clairvaux, 1145)

Before the Diet of Worms (Luther, 1520)

On Suffering Persecution (Calvin, 1500s)

His Last Words on the Scaffold (Sir Walter Raleigh, 1618) – Paragraphs 1 and 5 for Printing

To His Army Before Quebec (Wolfe, 1759)

On the Horrors of the Slave Trade (Wilberforce, 1789)

In His Own Defense (Marat, 1793)

Red Jacket on the Religion of the White Man and the Red (1805)

Tecumseh to General Proctor (1813)

On The American Scholar (Emerson, 1837)

As the Literary Guest of America (Dickens, 1842)

In Defense of His Son (Victor Hugo, 1851)

A House “Divided Against Itself” (Lincoln, 1858)

Full text of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Summary and Background Information on Lincoln-Douglas, including clip of paraphrased speech from the 1940 movie “Abe Lincoln in Illinois.”
“Abe Lincoln in Illinois” clip on YoutTube.
Text of the speeches from the movie

To His Soldiers (Garibaldi, 1860)

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863)

Lee’s Farewell To His Army (1865)

On the Death of Queen Victoria (Laurier, 1901)

Inaugural Addresses of the US Presidents (Washington to Obama)

George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility


Journalism

There are some controversial topics here, but I have tried to find pieces that are thoughtful even in the face of controversy.

Many from “The Best Magazine Articles Ever”

1 – 1939 – Albert Einstein – Albert Einstein Solves the Equation

2 – 1941 – Dorothy Thompson – Who Goes Nazi?

3 – 1946 – The New Yorker (entire issue) – Hiroshima

4 – 1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. – Letter From Birmingham Jail

5 – 1982 – Edward J Epstein – Have Your Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

6 – 1989 – Frances Fukuyama – The End of History

7 – 1990 – William Nack – Pure Heart (Secretariat)

8 – 1991 – William Langewiesche – The World in its Extreme (Sahara)

9 – 1993 – Vernor Vinge – The Technological Singularity

10 – 1994 – Peter Drucker – The Age of Social Transformation

11 – 1995 – George McKenna – On Abortion, a Lincolnian Position

12 – 1996 – Neal Stephenson – Mother Earth, Mother Board, Wiring the Planet

13 – 1999 – Harvey Cox – The Market as God

14 – 2000 – Bill Joy – Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us

15 – 2001 – Andrew O’Hehir – The Book of the Century (Lord of the Rings)

16 – 2002 – Michael Pollan – An Animal’s Place

17 – 2004 – Daniel Foster Wallace – Consider the Lobster

18 – 2007 – Gene Weingarten – Pearls Before Breakfast

19 -2007 – CJ Chivers – The School

20 – 2007 – Jonathan Lethem – The Ecstasy of Influence

21 – 2008 – James McConkey – What Kind of Father Am I?

22 – 2008 – Chris Anderson – The Data Deluge

23 – 2009 – Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler – Stealing Mona Lisa

24 – 2009 – Joshua Shenk – What Makes Us Happy?

25 – 2010 – David Grann – The Mark of a Masterpiece

26 – 2010 – Atul Gawande – Letting Go

27 – 2010 – Errol Morris – The Anosognosic’s Dilemma

28 – 2004 – Chris Anderson – The Long Tail

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