Part of our structured French time involves dictation practice. My youngest, age 7, is using this time for Star Wars copywork right now, and my oldest, age 8, has been working through Apprivoiser la dictée 3 for several months.
This book has been a fantastic addition to our homeschool. Before purchasing level 3, I had compared several books from various sources and decided on this one because it helps with both spelling and vocabulary development at the same time. Envolée’s web site is fantastic – sample pages are included for each product listed so I knew exactly what I was getting.
In level 3, there are 20 different dictations. Each one is about 35 words long in paragraph form. The people in the paragraphs stay consistent throughout the book, which makes it more engaging for my daughter. The first dictée is about a dog, so I knew my puppy-loving little lady would be hooked right from the beginning.
How we use level 3
We take four days to work through each dictation. On the first day, my daughter completes the first 2 parts, which involve reading the text and copying the words, breaking them up into syllables.
The second day, she rewrites the phrases that have been scrambled in the correct order. I love this part because it’s helping her put together sentences and paragraphs and not just isolated words. When we first started using the program, I also had her practice the words by creating a spelling list on my iPhone with A+ Spelling Test, but we don’t do this anymore. By the time she’s finished all the exercises with each section in the book, she doesn’t really need any additional practice.
Also on the second day, she fills in the devinettes which are clues given in French and she needs to figure out which word from her dictée belongs with each clue. I love this section too because it helps reinforce meanings of words.
The third day, she practices the paragraph in its entirety, and then invents 3 sentences of her own with the words from the dictation. I’m supposed to dictate the dictation for her to write, but that never seems to work out. My daughter prefers to work independently on her written work and if I’m helping her brother with something, she doesn’t like to wait. I have no idea where this impatience comes from – 😉 sigh.
It just donned on me to save the dictées as audio files in Evernote, so today I read each one aloud and recorded myself using my iPad. Evernote syncs automatically, so when she practiced this afternoon, she used my iPhone for the playback and paused it while she wrote. I told her she could play back the recording as many times as she needed to. It worked really well. I asked her to compare her work with the original in the book. She said she got 100%, but I found a conjugation mistake, so I will still need to check her work for her.
On the fourth day, she writes a story using 10 words from her dictation list.
Overall, it’s working really well. She enjoys using the book and is learning a lot – both in spelling and language development.
Because I love level 3 so much, I asked Envolée if they would give me a copy of level 4 to review and they agreed. Yay!!
This book picks up where level 3 left off in terms of difficulty but the structure is slightly different. The dictations are a bit longer (about 50 words). The characters in each paragraph are different, and the subjects of each are well chosen for children who are about 8-10 years old. There are 25 dictées in this book.
While level 3 had consistent activities each time, level 4 changes it up a bit. Sometimes the words are copied into specific categories; other times sentences need to be unscrambled, along with many other possibilities. This level also throws in some short grammar tips. For example, dictée 3 includes a short write up on how to identify a common noun and then asks the child to list several common nouns in the dictée. While this wouldn’t be enough for a stand-alone grammar program, it’s a fantastic review and a great way to reinforce the words in the dictation.
How we’ll use this level
On the first day, my daughter will work through the activities on the front side of the worksheet. On the second day, she’ll do the reverse side. On the third and fourth days, she’ll practice the entire dictation using the audio I have already recorded.
Level 4 looks like a great continuation of level 3 and I look forward to using it in the near future.
This entire series can be purchased online, downloaded, and printed as many times as you like for your home or classroom. Here’s the link: https://www.envolee.com/fr/recherche?q=apprivoiser+la+dict%C3%A9e
Many thanks to Envolée for providing me with a free copy of level 4. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.If you're not reading this post in your e-mail, sign up for updates right here and get your free guide to Getting Started Teaching French at Home:
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