Thursday, May 7, 2009

SpellQuizzer: Fun Spelling Program

A little over a month ago, I received an invitation to try SpellQuizzer, a spelling program for helping children learn their spelling words. Now that we've been using it for several weeks, I can tell you what I truly think of the program.

At first, I was skeptical. I figured Sam would probably like it, but Mika would be indifferent. She usually is when it comes to computer learning programs. To my surprise, both kids not only liked it, but are now begging me regularly for more spelling words. Their enthusiasm for the program means that it now has a permanent place in our homeschool routine.

SpellQuizzer is a simple program that it easy to use. Creating spelling lists is as simple as clicking on "Create a spelling list", giving the list a name, and adding the chosen words. Adding words is simple; you type in the word and record yourself saying the word and a sentence using the word. If you want to, you can add a written reminder phrase to assist your student. You can also tell the program if the word is case-sensitive and if you want the list to be randomized when quizzing. It's that simple.

When the student is ready to practice, they simply open the program and choose a list to practice. After listening to your voice recording, they attempt to type in the correct spelling. If they are correct, they get the next word in the list. If they are incorrect, a pop-up box will give them their spelling in red and the correct spelling in green. Once they've finished the list, they are given the option to try to incorrect words again and again until they get them all correct.

One of our favorite features of the program is the sound effects that you can add. You can choose sounds to play when the child is correct, incorrect, and when they've gotten 100% on the first try. We have the program yelling "ya-hoo!" for every correct word, "oh-no!" for every incorrect word, and cheering when they get them all right at the end. I initially thought it would be too much, but the sound effects keep the kids motivated and smiling, and keeps my 2 year old laughing.

SpellQuizzer isn't just spelling software; it can also be used to help students practice their vocabulary. I have also been using it to help Mika practice her vocabulary each week. Rather than recording the pronunciation of the vocabulary word, I have been using the reminder phrase option to type in a short definition for each word. It works quite well and can be used for all manner of vocabulary words, whether they are from a vocabulary building program, history, science, literature, or any other source of vocabulary.

Spellquizzer can be used with any spelling and/or vocabulary curriculum. You can even download pre-made spelling lists for SpellQuizzer from their website.

Now, you've heard about all of the great things about SpellQuizzer, you might be wondering if there is anything I do not like about the program. And there is. The program, as designed, is for student practice only; there is no reporting feature for the teacher/parent. I feel that it would be helpful for the teacher to have some sort of reporting feature (with a print option) to let the teacher see where the student is struggling. Is the student consistently misspelling the same words or sounds? It would also be nice to be able to print a report of the words that have been passed for homeschool records.

The good news is that I've discussed these helpful features with the creator and he is considering a "pro" or upgrade version of the program including these features. For now, though, I'm happy using it the way it is and look forward to the upgrade when it arrives. As it stands, it is definitely worth its low price.

You can even download a free trial. Maybe your kids could be the next ones to start begging for more spelling lists.

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Julie at Best Homeschool Buys said...

Your post on spellquizzer was very timely. I was just trying to find out about this software and I found your post. It always helps to hear from a family that has actually tried it out. It sounds like a good product for those who need a fresh approach for spelling. I'm sold.