Here are some sample excerpts for dictation.
from Ellray Jakes Is Not A Chicken! by Sally Warner
Monday is like a spelling test that your teacher has just passed out and you haven’t had time yet to make any mistakes. It’s like a blank piece of art paper that you haven’t messed up. Any good thing can happen on a Monday!—
from The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese
When an excerpt contains an unfamiliar word like Yangtze, it should be written where the child can see it. The point of the dictation exercise is to reinforce the spelling of words the child will use in day-to-day speaking and writing.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful young duck named Ping. Ping lived with his mother and his father and two sisters and three brothers and eleven aunts and seven uncles and forty-two cousins. Their home was a boat with two wise eyes on the Yangtze river.
from The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
[Ferdinand] liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers. He had a favorite spot out in the pasture under a cork tree. It was his favorite tree and he would sit in its shade all day and smell the flowers.
from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.
Excerpts can be the means of introducing children to books they would enjoy, as well as opportunities to learn new vocabulary.
from The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew by Robert Bolt
Before dictating the following passage, the teacher/parent can teach the word thwart and comment on the titles duke and baron.
A long time ago—in the days when dragons were still common—there lived a duke. And whenever news was brought in of a dragon ravaging some part of the country, the duke sent one of his knights away in shining armor to deal with it. After a few weeks, the knight would return with the tip of the dragon’s tail to prove that he had killed it.