(September) Make dictation become enjoyable. Games lead to mastering “listening, writing, and remembering”

Written by:Family Dynamics Psychotherapist
              Children’s Play Therapist Lee Wai Ting


In the new school year, children will begin to take dictation tests again. Although dictation may look simple, the skills required are actually very complicated. The skills required are called “distracted concentration”, where you have to find the strokes of the words in your head and write them out by hand while listening to the teacher and remembering the next sentence to be dictated. Writing while listening and remembering, sometimes writing the wrong word and deleting it before writing, racing against time, it’s super hard!


Therefore, in order to master the dictation skills and get good grades, we need to master the three skills of “listening, writing, and remembering” at the same time, as well as improve the “distracted concentration” which can be used in several ways.


To make dictation become enjoyable, you can turn these skills into games. On the one hand, the fun of the game increases children’s interest in learning, so that a tiresome exercise becomes a parent-child playtime; on the other hand, it is more important to increase children’s sense of success, and children will naturally enjoy learning more and more when they get encouragement from adults in the game.


The following are some examples of games that can be played separately to train several skills, so parents can try them out!



  • (1) Listening games
  1. The adult reads out the English sentence: “There is a rabbit on the table.” The children draw the sentence on a piece of paper, only drawing pictures, not writing words, as part of the listening training.

2.Children like to switch roles, they read sentences, adults do dictation, and even modify the words of adults, which gives them a sense of success, and can train the correct pronunciation, read and carefully modify the errors of adults (parents may deliberately write wrong) to increase the memory of the string of words or writing


B)Chinese and English writing games

Chinese characters are complicated and difficult to remember, and writing with a pen is not only abstract for children, but also difficult to remember. Instead of writing with a pen, you can try to use different parts of the body to write words and use different senses to enhance memory. For example: 

  1. write words on a sand tray, so that the sensation of fingers touching sand can enhance the memory of words.
  2. Use different textures of materials to build words, such as red beans, clay and different textures of handicraft materials, etc. You can also match colors, such as red for the sound and green for other letters, to enhance memory.
  3. Adults use their fingers to write words on various parts of the child’s body so that they can estimate what the words are. For example, the palm of the hand, the back and the forehead, depending on the child’s ability; or the child can write on the adult’s body upside down.


C)Distraction games

In fact, many games are designed to train this kind of concentration, for example, “Competing for a chair”, where you have to listen to music while paying attention to the position of the chair and responding to it; “Slapjack”, where you have to count/listen to the numbers and open the card while paying attention to the matching numbers and responding to it, and so on.


Some of the table games are designed in this way. We introduce a game called “Morse code”, where the child has to listen to the code, think of the pattern in his mind, remember the order of the code, and finally find the card with the matching pattern.


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