Guidelines for Story dictations
1. Write the child’s name and date on each story.
2. Print as clearly as possible. Beginning readers may be able to read
some of the words on the page. Use correct spelling and punctuation
even though the stories themselves may be grammatically incorrect.
3. Write down exactly what the child says even if it is grammatically
incorrect. It helps to echo the child’s words as you write them down.
Repeating the child’s words lets both of you know that you understood
what was said and it helps the child see the connection between
spoken and written words. If necessary, ask the child to speak more
slowly or to repeat what has just been said. If the child loses track,
read what has been written up to that point.
4. As story dictation is becoming classroom routine, it is important to
convey acceptance of whatever a child offers as a story. After
dictation is established, you can cautiously and sparingly intervene to
help the child move to a more coherent, interesting story. However
any intervention should be open-ended and value free. For example,
you might say, “I’m confused. What does the character do next?”
5. Limit stories to one page. You can warn the child when there is little
space left on the page and tell the child to think about how to end the
story or suggest making it a “to be continued” story which can be
completed another day.
6. After the child finishes telling the story, read the entire story back and
make any changes he or she suggests.
7. After the story is written it is acted out with a teacher during
kindergarten workshop time.
8. After each child has completed one story dictation, stories are
dictated using an ongoing sign-up board located in the classroom.
Once your routine is established you may be able to complete four to
six story dictations in an hour. Depending on the class you may see the
same faces week after week or there may be more variety.