Running Dictation

One of the most popular teaching activities and an absolute winner as it combines 4 skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. Very easy to prepare, great fun for students and competitive. You prepare a short text of the correct level for your students and put it on the wall of your room. The aim of this activity is for your students to copy the original text as accurately as possible.

Time: 15 – 40 minutes
Preparation: Find a suitable text that matches your student’s level. I’ve found Wikipedia’s simple English to be an excellent resource in this respect. Your text can be customised to the length of the activity. Between 150-200 words usually works well. Get blank paper for the students to write the text.
Level: Pre-intermediate – Advanced
Happy students: ****

  1. Divide your students into small groups of between 3-4
  2. Designate one student as the ‘writer’. The other 2-3 students are ‘runners’. The ‘writers’ sit down.
  3. Put your text on the wall far away from the ‘writers’. Make an ‘exclusion zone’ by marking a distance of around 3 metres from the text using a chair or table.
  4. Start activity. The runners have to come to the text, remember as many words as possible, go back to the writer and tell them the words. The teams race against each other. The ‘runner’ must not write anything. Only the ‘writer’ can write.
  5. Only one student from each team is allowed in the ‘exclusion zone’ at any time.
  6. You should change roles during the activity to ensure everyone gets chance to be the ‘writer’
  7. You can decide a scoring system. I use:
    20 points for the winning team, 10 points for the runners up.
    -1 point for every mistake
  8. Do the scoring and declare the winner

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2 Responses

  1. jschaalje says:

    Your happy students stars rating is great! I’m going to use this activity with my students. Thanks for putting it up. – Jacqueline

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