Bail Outs


A brilliant way to regain calm and can be largely prep free. The following dictation variations have been sourced from:,,,

Scaffolded dictation

This simple variation of dictation adds a further puzzle-solving element students may appreciate.
1. Supply all consonants, but no vowels, or vice versa. This resembles activities described above.
2. Provide a gapped version omitting chosen grammatical points such as verbs or prepositions. This helps develop students’ parsing skills when listening subsequently.
3. Provide a translation; give students a translation in L1 of the text you read. This allows them to focus on form (phonics) less than meaning, lightening the load on memory.

Paired gapped dictation

1. Students work with a partner (possibly back to back). Student A has a complete text, student B a version with gaps.
2. Student A reads to student B, a phrase at a time. Student B can ask for repetitions.
3. After a given time stop the activity and get the pairs to correct the dictation.

False facts dictation

1. Dictate some sentences, each one containing a false fact. The sentences could relate to general knowledge or something recently studied in class.
2. Students transcribe and try to underline where they think the error is.
3. Display the sentences and ask students what the factual problem was in each case.

Dictation with Substitution

  • 1. Replace structures with a humorous sounding cognate alternative such as orangutan, komputer.
  • 2. After/during the dictation, students try to determine what the substituted word should be.


Read a short text to the students at normal speed. The first time students should just listen.
Then read the text a second time and allow the students to take notes.
Now in pairs have them try to reconstruct the text from their memory and notes.
When they have done what they can, read the text a third time and allow them to take further notes and make corrections.
Next, divide the students into teams of four and work together to come up with the complete text. When the teams have reconstructed the text, have them write their sentences on the board. Award one point for each correct sentence. The team with the most points wins.

Match the Picture

Give students a sheet of paper with illustrations and photographs, and then dictate the sentence from the text for each picture.  The students write the correct caption next to each picture.

Jigsaw dictation

Dictate a paragraph in the usual way, but with the sentences out of order.
After transcribing what they hear, students re-order the sentences.

Finish the sentence

Read open ended sentences to students wh complete them with information about themselves.
eg nama saya, saya tinggal di, saya di kelas, saya suka makan, saya suka bermain

Picture Dictation

Write comprehensible sentences about an image. Students firstly write down the sentence and then secondly crreate a illustration to match the text.


Give each student a copy of the current story or a paralell version of it, double spaced leaving room between lines for an English written translation.