In this age of thumb typing and spell checkers, you’d think that actually learning to spell would take a backseat to free expression. Happily, spelling is even more important to keep the writer’s meaning true and avoid ambiguities or misunderstandings. Here’re seven apps that can help kids learn that it’s always “i” before “e,” except after a “c” – or something like that.
Anyone who’s been in an early education classroom with computers probably recognizes School Zone Spelling because it’s been around for nearly a decade. At $25, it can be used with an interactive projector and works with both PCs and Macs. The program has 2,800 words ready to be spelled (or misspelled) for grades one, two and three, and you can add your own word lists to its vocabulary. It focuses on independent self-paced learning with a variety of animated characters who help students to spell correctly, which is reinforced with exercises.
This name Ultimate Speller is appropriate here because this program is the complete package for classrooms with games that help kids learn to spell correctly and the ability to create class worksheets to hone skills. It delivers extensive analysis and reports while covering the gamut of platforms with compatibility for PCs, Macs as well as Linux computers and Chromebooks. its unique Word Explorer shows how different words are related shows it in an innovative visual manner. Ultimate’s $30 price tag for up to five users can be lowered for schools with a volume licensing program of the company’s EDU edition.
This small program does one thing and does it exceedingly well: Creates tests to give a class to see how well they can spell the latest word list. With 10,000 words at its disposal, Spell Quizzer reads the words of interest to the student and then checks what’s they have typed. On the downside, there’re no games or activities to actually learn the words. It costs $30 and is well worth it.
HOOKED ON SPELLING
While not as lively as its Hooked on Phonics series, Hooked on Spelling is custom made for the classroom with 20 minute discrete lessons that’re aimed at making 5-through-8-year old students into better spellers. The Hooked on Spelling lessons cover everything from consonant and vowel sounds to plurals and singulars. Along the way, there’re several games to reinforce the instruction, but the program won’t work on newer Macs.
With more than 9,000 words at its disposal and a sample sentence for each, Spelling Force can help a learn the ins and outs of spelling. There’s a special emphasis on phonics and homonyms, so everyone should be able to tell the difference between their, there and they’re. An Australian import, the $35 program runs only on PCs, but includes four separate games that help build spelling skills, rules and patterns.
Got a lot of Android tablets? Socratia’s Spelling Bee can help a class master the ins and outs of spelling with more than 2,300 words available as text and as audio to listen to. If you like the app, it can be set to deliver increasingly hard words and its assessments have the word in a sentence next to a place to type an answer. At the end, Spelling Bee tells you how you did and the level of severity.
LITTLE SPELLER—THREE LETTER WORDS
This is an iPad app that starts small for a school’s youngest students. Little Speller has a vocabulary composed entirely of simple and easy to learn words that can be built upon in subsequent grades. Built around flash cards, Little Speller has an image of the item, a place to play an audio clip of the word and a keyboard to type in the word. Best of all, it’s simple and free.