Dictate Arabic to Your Child

إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ قُرۡءَٲنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ ﴿

Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’ân in order that you may understand.

(Quran, 12:2)

When learning anything setting the foundation is essential for future success in that topic. Being able to read Arabic correctly, from early stages is essential to the leaner’s writing, because Arabic is a phonetical language. Everything you write you read except for a few words in the Quran. Also, learning to read Arabic using the Arabic script is the first and easiest step to learning Arabic. Therefore, great care should be taken as this the fundamental part of teaching your learner to read AND write Arabic.

Dictation, although may be considered as old fashion, has many benefits for the leaner and the teacher. If done systematically and regularly, dictation exercises improve students’ ability to distinguish sounds in continuous speech. It also improves their spelling and their recognition of grammatically correct sentences and their production of them. It shows students the kinds of spelling errors they are prone to make.

Dictation can help develop all four language skills, reading, writing, listening and speaking, in an integrative way. It also helps to develop short-term memory as well as retain meaningful phrases or whole sentences before writing them down. It can serve as an excellent review exercise or assessment. Dictation solidates reading and spelling and it can be done for all ages and levels.

When teaching the Arabic alphabet I never start with the names of the letters. I start of with teaching the letter along with fetha and sounding them together. I would also teach my learner the shape of the letter with the vowel sound as it looks in the beginning, middle or end of a word.

For the beginner, whether the learner is an adult or a child, the letter they have just learnt can be dictated to them and for small children they can write  on a wipe board to make it fun for them.

ARabic dictation

Once the learner can read words then start dictating individual words. If the learner struggles, remember Arabic is a phonetical language, so help them by sounding out the letters in the word individually.

For example, for the word كِتَابٌ , say كِـ تَا بٌ. If they still can’t write it, write a few words for them including the word you are dictating. Then invite the child to read each word and hopefully picking the correct word and writing it.

Then, when they can read phrases and sentences, dictate an entire phrase or sentence to them in one reading. This teaches them to recognise the number of individual words within the sentences. It also gets them used to hearing how words are said cohesively within a sentence. Initially, the learner may write the whole phrase or sentence as one word long word. If that happens, break the sentence or phrase down for them. Ask them firstly how many words do they think they can here. Then read the individual words and then read again with the words cohesively being said together. This method helps the child to distinguish moon and sun letters. It also helps spotting other grammatical issues such as writing ــــهُو instead of ــــهُ .

Here we read a book about Yusuf and carried out comprehension as well as Quran exercises based on the story of Yusuf. Then I chose a different page once a week and dictated it to my 8 year old.

Dictate letters, words or sentences they have studied and are familiar with. To be familiar with the meaning is even better as it will help them to retain the sentence, become fluent in it and then start using it more freely. I wouldn’t dictate language they have not come across before. We want dictation to be fun. To be a challenge for the child to race against his/her own ability. Have a dictation book so they can see their progress.

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