When to start using dictation regularly

I am learning the simplified method.  I have written from dictation at times, but am not sure if the idea is that i should do this for every lesson.  So my question is, at what point in learning theory is the self studying student supposed to begin using diction.  I know that the obvious answer would be “as soon as you start writing” but i am wondering if it is better to wait until later possibly even until theory is finished and i move on to speed building.  Or should i begin right away?  If i do begin, is it supplemental or should i not regard myself as having completed a lesson until i have written it from dictation?

(by Ryan for
group greggshorthand)


8 comments Add yours
  1. I am also still learning GS theory. Already I've began using some of the brief forms for when I take notes; however, I can't take dictation yet. I read an old post on here by someone else that they practiced by transcribing written articles into GS after they learned the theory and that was how they got really proficient writing it. I imagine that in order to be good at dictation, you have to be able to write the words without thinking much about them – like how we're writing here in English. So I would wait until you have gone through all the theory.

  2. You might want to read Mr. Leslie's description of the pedagogy of the Functional Method, which he explains in the first section of the Anni Teacher's Handbook. Although he's writing to teachers, some of his remarks are applicable to your question.

    I've just entered the very early intermediate stage of study, and am just beginning to try my hand at dictation. It's been kind of a humbling experience; I think I should have started a bit sooner.

  3. Assuming my memory is correct (although it was 52-plus years ago), our shorthand teacher did exactly as mcbud states — she began dictating to us briefly and slowly during the 3rd week of the first semester, using material from the current lesson. Although the end goal after 2 semesters (one high school year) was 80 wpm, we had weeks of practice starting with 30 wpm and slowly working our way up. Of course to earn an "A" upon completion of 4 semesters (two high school years), one had to be able to take and transcribe 120 wpm accurately.

  4. I think you answered your own question: you start taking dictation as soon as you start writing. The reason for that is that it gets you used to it. Granted, when you're learning, you should only have dictation of the material you have studied, and the dictation is of short duration and relatively slow. Don't wait for speed building to take dictation, because you run a higher risk of panicking if you stumble on a word and get a brain freeze without having previous dictation practice.

  5. As an experience, I’ve added dictations to the online shorthand course since the first module. And, judging from the feedback I receive from the students, it seems to be working! They say they like them and have no problem in writing down the dictations in shorthand.
    The dictations (according to Instructions) should be made only after the study of the module. The dictations are, so to say, just an extension to the learning of the module and should be considered as such.
    As you can see at the online course page, (at the beginning, in yellow, where it’a written “Meu Primeiro Ditado” (My first dictation):
    To begin with, there are two vídeos for the student to get acquainted with the words and sentences of the dictation. The videos are also good for the student to practice the “visual memory”. Then, there is a “Texto”, that the student may print for studying the words and the sentences of the dictations. And, at last, the dictation, that can be written down in shorthand as many times as the student wants.

  6. Whether one is studying Anniversary, Simplified, or DJ Gregg, the guidance provided by Leslie in the Teacher's Handbook for the Functional Manual is pertinent. The Simplified Functional Manual was our text in the first semester all those years ago and, in truth, that mid-1930's teacher's handbook makes an excellent argument for all Gregg students to learn from the Functional approach.

  7. When you do start dictation, go for accuracy rather than speed. It's easier to build speed later than to fix accuracy. Always read your work after writing it, and again several days later. Drill your problem areas.

    It's hard to build speed in the early lessons. Gregg saves time with common words and phrases, and you won't know enough of them.

    One method is to work up to 40wpm fairly fast, then work mostly on theory, keeping a tiny bit of pressure on the speed. I find that works for me (during the months I don't have other things going on).

    If you write too slowly, you might start carefully drawing the outlines rather than writing them smoothly. Gregg needs to be written. It's a different hand-motion.

    Stick to passages in the book (or books keyed to it) until you've finished all the theory. You might create outlines that conflict with a later chapter.

    I have two bookmarks. The front one is where I'm reading, the back one is where I'm writing. It works (or does when my life allows).

Leave a Reply