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A dictagloss is a dictation activity in which a class recreate a text which is dictated from start to finish, thus requiring memorization and guesswork, alongside note-taking skills. It can be effectively used to check that a group are capable of actively implementing grammar they have been taught, rather than only having acquired a passive awareness of it.


  • The teacher should find a short text (one to two paragraphs) which contains language of a level no higher than that of the students` abilities.
  • Students need paper and a pen(cil)


  • The teacher sets up a scaffolding task, to generate student interest in the topic and bring out topical vocabulary.
  • After pre-teaching any vocabulary, the teacher reads out the text at a normal pace, having asked the students to listen and let it "wash over them".
  • The teacher then dictates the text a second time and instructs students to write down keywords they hear i.e. content words such as "fell", "late", "running" & "police" rather than structural words such as "it", "do" "a" & "then".
  • Working in pairs or small groups, students compare their notes and work as a team to recreate the original text as closely as possible while maintaining accuracy (if they don`t remember a certain part they should invent a suitable substitute to keep the text coherent).
  • When finished, the teacher reveals a copy of the original text which students use to compare with their own versions.

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