Author: Deb Avery | Published on 1 April 2023


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Dictogloss is a similar activity to dictation, so my learners are already familiar with what they have to do. But it’s much more active and interesting. Learners use all their knowledge of English, not just their memory, because they need to write a whole text rather than just words and sentences. They also work in groups, which gives them the chance to help each other.

Stage 1: Prepare

Select a topic and prepare a short text (below 100 words in length) on the topic.

The text can be from a book, newspaper, the internet or written by yourself.

Stage 2: Discuss

Group the class into small groups of three or four.

Write the topic on the board e.g. Climate change.

Say: ‘In your groups, discuss the topic. Write down any key words and ideas which you know already.’

As a class, brainstorm any relevant phrases and words.

Write the key words and phrases on the board.

Stage 3: Explain

Say: ‘I am going to read a short text to you. As you listen, write down any words or phrases that you remember.’

Continue: ‘After I have read the text, you and your group will work together. Use the words on the board and the notes which you took. Try to reconstruct the text.’

Stage 4: Read and listen

Read the pre-prepared text aloud at a natural pace, without pauses.

When you have finished reading, in groups, the learners try to reconstruct the text together as accurately as they can. 

Stage 5: Check 

When the groups have completed the task, read the text again.

Allow students to correct their work.

Dictogloss practises multiple skills because learners listen, write and speak to complete the task.  


Brainstorm: To suggest ideas quickly, before then considering them more carefully.

Dictogloss: a form of dictation in which students hear a complete text then try to reconstruct it from memory

Reconstruct: matching text at the sentence level to the original whole text