Ready for Running Dictation

Having a solid foundation in oral language will help students become successful listeners, readers, strong communicators, build their confidence and give them an overall sense of well-being. Oral language lays the foundation for the reading and writing skills students need as they become fluent uses of the English language.

Room 6 loves opportunities to talk. Not only through chatting with a friend or with our peers at the tables, our curiosity and intriguing minds are always full of questions engaging in conversation together as a whole class or in small groups. To help extend our oral language and build confidence in our reading, writing and listening skills, our class has been working on running dictation activity.  


What is Running Dictation?

Working in pairs or a small group, the students work together to decide who will be the writer while the other partner is the runner to read the text and they are only allowed to read and speak.  If there are small groups of three, two students take turns being the runners.


When the time starts, one runner from each group carefully runs to a text they can see around the room and memorises a short phrase or sentence, then returns to the writer and reports what they read.  The writer writes down what they heard from the runner and relevant questions about words and punctuation can be asked by the writer if necessary.  This continues until the whole text is complete.



The students need to make sure they read and report the text to the writer as it is written, including correct spelling and punctuation.  The first group that finishes writing with the most accurate information wins the game.



When all the groups have finished, each group is given a copy of the text to check they have written it out correctly, have punctuation in the right places and check the spelling is also correct.


To extend this activity, the text can be printed with fine print such as italics, parentheses, speech marks, semicolon, colon and square brackets.  All punctuation features must be accurate. The first group to finish with a correct text is the winner.

Keywords: dictation, runner, writer, oral language, listening, reading and writing skills.

Curriculum links:  

Oral language



Photo 7 Running dictation