September 29, 2009 by Willy Cardoso

Dictogloss is a classroom dictation activity where learners listen to a text, usually a short one, and then reconstruct it.


One simple framework can be: Students listen to the text only, and on the second time they note down key words or phrases. In pairs or small groups they reconstruct the text and then report to the whole class. The teacher elicits marker sentences and record them on the board for focusing on form.


Dictogloss is as a multiple skills activity. Learners practise listening, writing and speaking , and use grammar and lexis to complete the task. I found it particularly useful for inductive grammar instruction, and as an alternative to print text-based lessons.


Below is a video that illustrates pretty well the whole idea.

30 thoughts on “Dictogloss

  1. Ana Elisa says:

    I’ll try it with my students!!!

  2. neng utami says:

    its the first time I read this site,and it seems that Dictogloss is very useful …
    but, unfortunately, I cant enjoy the video, is there any explanation about the Dictogloss in words?
    so I can read the steps well..
    thank you very much

  3. marisapavan says:

    Hi Willy,

    I’ve been using dictogloss for a long time and it’s a helpful task. It’s great to make students practise vocabulary, grammar, listening and writing skills. it can also be used as an introduction of a talking point in class. I’ve loved this activity ever since I heard about it in a conference.

    • Thanks for your comments Marisa!
      When I first learned dictogloss I didn’t give it much credit, now I’ve been using it more when it’s a review lesson, I take a text from the coursebook, one they have worked on previously and dictate it. Students have enjoyed this kind of class.

  4. Dave Dodgson says:

    Hi Wllly,

    I’ve been using dictogloss throughout the second semester with my Primary School classes. It has tunred out to be a really useful activity and a classroom favourite. However, I had to persist with it in the beginning as the children were not used to the idea and it took a few attempts before they got the idea. After that, it was easy to set up though as all I needed to say was ‘dictogloss time!’ and they would know what to expect.

    Next year with new classes, I think I’ll bring it in earlier in the year but start out with brief sentences to get the concept across before moving on to longer texts. I will also have the chance to do some text reconstruction in the computer lab with my classes next year so it will help as preparation for that.

    David D

    • Thanks for your comments Dave!
      First time is indeed a bit confusing if students had never done it, but after a while they see the benefits of this activity.
      Adults also enjoy it, actually, my recent experience is limited to teaching adults and dictogloss works fine with them just as well.

  5. Asdar says:

    Thanks so much

  6. Leticia says:

    Hi Willy,
    Last year I attended the ICELT course, and I learnt about the dictogloss. I’ve been using it since there. I work with children and teenagers, and it’s a great tool to keep them busy and thinking. Thanks a lot for the video. It’s quite interesting to learn a different way of using the dictogloss.

  7. […] the one (and only) Ronnie Corbett complain about his blackberry being out of order. We also did a dictagloss about multiculturalism and watched excerpts of the Last Night of the Proms, Queen Victoria sang […]

  8. Richard says:

    Hey Willy, not seen this one before. I only wanted to say…

    I love dictogloss!



  9. Ethel Martinez says:

    Hi, my name is Ethel. I am from Honduras. I came across your site through Google search. I’m thankful I did!! I love your site, it’s very inspiring. I will try dictogloss tomorrow with my students to teach the simple present tense.

    I had read about dictogloss but it’s even better to see it live happen in the classroom.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll be looking for some more great teaching tips.

    • Hi Ethel!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, and thanks for leaving a message.
      Do take a look at other entries, especially the latest ones, some of them are quite thought-provoking. And always feel free to join the conversation, I love to hear about the experience of other teachers.

  10. santy says:

    Where Can I Get the Book (in Indonesia) ?
    I really Need the Book


  11. Mozhgan Hudiburgh says:

    I really love this method. I am using it in my grammar class and my students love it. Thanks. Mozhgan Hudiburgh 🙂

  12. Mozhgan Hudiburgh says:

    I really love this method. I am using it in my grammar class and my students love it. Thanks. Mozhgan Hudiburgh

  13. Mozhgan Hudiburgh says:

    Great method… loved it…

  14. Mozhgan Hudiburgh says:

    Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I used this method in my Persian Grammar course recently,it was great and my students loved it. Thank you a lot. It is amazing. ………………….. Mozhgan Hudiburgh / U.S.A

  15. Mozhgan Hudiburgh ( Mojie) says:

    I am really enjoy this method as well as my students. Thanks again.

    Mozhgan Hudiburgh ( Mojie)

  16. hernán says:

    This methods seems to be great to be used with teenagers!I’m from Argentina. thanks a lot

  17. shaz says:

    Wajnryb, R. (1990). Grammar Dictation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. This is the original version of Dictogloss, I came across the book when I was doing the Cambridge Delta in Istanbul some years ago. Try it out!

  18. Uchanee says:

    I’m Thai master degree student.I’m going to do my thesis that’s about how to develope writing skill of primary student,so I’ve been interested in Dictogloss technique.I need more informations about Dictogloss theory in order to complete my work.
    Thank you for your reply.

  19. wallace says:

    Any chance we can see the video? I am new to Dictogloss and am eager to try it in class. Sounds like a great way to review.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

receive new posts by email.

Join 486 other followers


Events 2015

IATEFL Manchester, UK
10 April, 2014
TDSIG PCE: Challenges and Rewards
More info

IATEFL Manchester, UK
12 April, 2015
Talk: Initial teacher training: challenges and innovations in course design

23 March, 2015 - Kragujevac
28 March, 2015 - Belgrade
Theme: Assessment: who is it for?
More info



%d bloggers like this: