Running Dictation is one of my favorite games to play with ESL students. It’s great for many reasons. The rules are simple, and it gets students out of their seats and moving around. It practices many communication skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and group dynamics. It’s highly adaptable for any age and skill level, all while providing lots of laughs.
This is my favorite way to play:
1. Print some text on a sheet a paper and place it somewhere that students cannot easily read from their seats. I usually place mine just outside the classroom door on the wall. Also, I use Tongue Twisters because I teach pronunciation. I use about ten different tongue twisters because I want my students to practice different vowel and consonant sounds. Each tongue twister is numbered and on a separate line.
2. Put students into pairs or small groups and tell them to have a team name. Each team has a designated runner and at least one designated writer.
3. Play begins when each team’s runner rushes to the printed text. They must memorize one tongue twister and hurry back to their team to dictate it to the team’s writer(s). This usually requires many trips back and forth. They have to check spelling, grammar, word order, etc..
4. When the writer has finished one tongue twister, the piece of paper gets brought to the teacher. I check it for any inaccuracies. If everything looks good, the team can move on to the next tongue twister.
5. After completing a tongue twister, the Runner and Writer rotate roles. Play continues until each tongue twister has been dictated and written correctly. The team that finishes all the tongue twisters first is the winner.
Have you played this game with your students? What variations do you use to make the game fun and interesting?