Free Online Dictations for ESL Students

Are you a student learning English and looking for free resources to use at home to help you with your English studies? If so, online dictations are a great resource to add to your learning English toolkit!

Dictations work on many levels. To start, they are a highly effective way to help build your listening skills. As you progress through your ESL journey, you will find listening becomes increasingly important and you will need good listening skills if you want to do well in your exams, whether an official exam, such as the Cambridge B1 exam or whether it’s a school test. However, more importantly, you will need good listening skills when you start using your English in real-life situations.

Dictations help you connect the sound of words to the way a word looks when written down, and this has the knock-on effect of helping with your speaking too!

Here are some ways to use online dictations in your home studies:

Build Up Your Confidence!

Start with simple dictations and build from there, as you complete more simple dictations your confidence will grow, giving you the super-powers you need to tackle more advanced exercises.

When you are using an online dictation platform for the first time there’s more to it than just writing down the text. You need to get familiar with the controls available to you (for example, here at Ringo Lingo, you can set the speed of the dictation, wind back to re-listen to passages, take a look at hints and more!), therefore familiarize yourself with how the site works first using simple dictations before moving onto more advanced dictations.

Re-Visit Dictations Already Completed

…and talking of confidence, another great way to build your confidence in English is to see your progression leap forward over time. Do this by revisiting dictations you have already done and see how you have progressed. If you are still getting stuck on certain words or phrases, don’t worry! Just make a note of them and add these to your next English study session.

Looks for Patterns

When you are doing dictations, start to look for and identify patterns in English. Get familiar with how different words often appear together or how you will see familiar sentence structures. This will help throughout your English studies, however it will particularly help build your writing and reading skills as you start seeing the patterns in English.

Make Well Informed Guesses 🙂

Regardless at what level of English you have, if you are moving forward and improving, you will always find yourself with challenging exercises to do. Therefore, it is totally normal that there will be words or expressions you are not familiar with.

The great news is when you start doing dictations and get stuck, you can start to make well informed guesses as to what a word should be by looking at the text around it. For example, if you can hear the following sentence, but not understand the missing two words, you can make an informed guess as to what it should be by looking at the text you do know.

I love Italian food! My _______ Italian food is pizza.

In the example above, by looking at the context, you can make an informed guess that the missing word is ‘favorite’.

Repeat What You Hear!

While reading along out loud might be exceedingly annoying if you are working in a library or crowded area ;), if you can find a quiet spot then following along and saying the dictation out loud is a wonderful way to help build your speaking skills. Better still, if you record yourself using your phone or other device, you can play back your recording and compare it with the dictation and see how you can improve.

Choose Different Voices

Expose yourself to as many different voices and accents as you can, so you don’t just listen to a single voice. There is a rich variety of English accents, and as you use your English in the real-world, it’s important you are able to understand English spoken in different accents and with different voices.

We think online dictation is a great addition to your study plan! What do you think?