El Dictado: The Most Effective Spanish Spelling Routine

El Dictado Trifecta Spanish spelling
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Are you looking for a new way to teach spelling in your dual classroom?  Does the process seem overwhelming?  I have some amazing strategies in this post to help you out!

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El Dictado: What is it and how does it work? 

What is El Dictado?

El Dictado wears different hats and meets literacy needs at all different grade levels.  This post will focus on the primary grades and initial literacy skills in Spanish. El Dictado is basically a spelling test in Spanish.  In this case, El Dictado is a spelling test in Spanish, and a little more!  You have a trifecta for teaching initial literacy skills in Spanish.

How can El Dictado help me in my dual classroom?

El Dictado will help you teach your kids the skills that they need to learn to read and write effectively.  Those skills could be whatever you need to teach students: letter sound identification, blending letter sounds to read syllables, combining syllables to make words, or putting words together to make sentences.

This bundle of differentiated dictados uses syllables to form words, and those words form sentences.  

How can dual language teachers implement El Dictado effectively in the dual language classroom?

There are many ways to implement El Dictado.  But I have a very specific method of implementation that combines mini-lessons and spelling tests with partner work, with reading 'lecturitas'  and with working through daily shared reading.  These 3 all use the new, learned skills from the dictado.  They work together in this Trifecta.

Here's how it works: 

I have created a trifecta with the actual dictado, shared reading and lecturitas.  First, let's look at how the actual dictado works.  
El Dictado spelling routing

I have created and implement a 5-day plan where on the first day you as the teacher dictate words or a sentence to the class as a pre-test.  After giving the pre-test, you give a mini-lesson to teach the class what they need to know in order to write the sentence or the words correctly.  
El Dictado student self correct

On day 2 you dictate the words or sentences to the kids and let them self-correct using the principles from your mini-lesson from day 1.  Teach them to circle the words in sentences, and the syllables in the words.  
El Dictado Partner Work

On day 3 you have the kids work in pairs, or with a partner where one student dictates, and the other one writes, then they switch roles.

On day 4 you dictate to the whole class as a last practice test, and on day 5 give your final test.

So check out the details more specifically!

#1: Teaching words and sentences

El Dictado words and sentences

If you are teaching sentences, then teach your class to put a space between words, to write using an upper-case letter at the beginning of the sentence, to write with end-marks, and how to spell by recognizing and using 'sílabas directas'.  I have all this spelled out on super simple, projectable slides that are simply project-and-go! Lesson plans are embedded!!  Yay!

If your class is not quite ready for sentences, I've got you covered!  My Dictado Trifectas are also differentiated!  You can use the slides that are intended for syllables and words only.  These slides have words and illustrations of the words so that your students can learn the meaning of the words as well, increasing their vocabulary.

Both sets of slides teach the same syllables for the same key words.  That way if you have the need to teach 2 different groups in your room, then you are all set!

#2: Teaching Shared Reading or Lectura Compartida

Lectura Compartida also has a 5-day easy to follow plan.  

Day 1 is a quick intro to the passage where you use your pre-made anchor chart of the shared reading and simply read it to the class.

On day 2, similar to the Dictado, give the class their own copy of the passage.  I have my class paste the sheet in a spiral notebook so that they can refer to the passages frequently.   

On the anchor chart you put a dot under each word when you are reading the passage with the class.  Get creative and use Dab-a-Dot or circle stickers.  If you do not have these, simply use a marker.  

On my slides I have moveable pieces that you or a student can place over each word.  If you do not wish to use the slide like this, you do not need to, but the option is there for you. 

Be sure to give the class a few minutes to mark dots under the words on their individual sheets as well.  The purpose of the dots under the words is to help students understand how separate words look on paper as they read, and for young readers to learn to point under the words as they read.  

This is a skill that is perfect to teach in pre-k and kindergarten, and by the middle of 1st grade you need to wean kids off of pointing to the words as they read.

Day 3 of shared reading is circling the syllables.  Again the slides have circles as moveable pieces.  On your anchor chart you can simply circle the syllables to model, or better yet, project the sheet and model more precisely.  Make sure the class does the same with their own words on their sheets.

Day 4 you introduce the song!  Once you have sung the shared reading with the class, teach them to point to each word as you sing.  Repeat on day 5!  This is so much fun, and the kids love it.

Each sheet of shared reading has a suggestion for tunes that you can sing the passage to.

#3: Lecturitas

These are simple illustrated sentences using the syllables from the dictado and shared reading.  It all becomes super practical when students can use their new skills to actually read.  It really is like magic!

So as you are teaching new syllables and words, the 'lecturitas' will take those syllables and words and put them into an illustrated context of one sentence.

The kids love this routine because they see themselves reading!  You will love it more because your kids will read, and their levels will move along!

In Conclusion...

This trifecta has been the most effective way for me to teach initial literacy skills in Spanish.  I use El Dictado with embedded mini-lessons to teach a skill for the week, then I put that skill into practice with shared reading and Lecturitas!  My students learn quickly with this routine.

I have a bundle of Dictados that teach the syllables in the same way that you would find them taught in an authentic setting.  

Check out my bundle here and save time, effort and money!  Each Dictado has a printable PDF file with bonus material to help you out.  You can download vocab cards and make up games with them like Memory or Go Fish.  You can print the vocab cards double-sided with syllable boxes on one side.  Your students can either write in the syllables or you can teach them how many syllables are in the words using the cards.  I print and laminate my cards for durability.

You have 8.5 x 11 sheets with the vowels printed on them so when you are teaching the vowels you can just post those in your room.  And some of the dictados come with extra-EXTRA bonus black and white printable activities.  

I hope routine helps you and your kids as much as it has helped me.  Enjoy!

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