No matter what spelling curriculum you use there are those dreaded moments in your daily school schedule when you must quiz your eager student on his or her spelling list. Your student rolls his or her beautiful, innocent blue/green/brown eyes. "Do I have to?" he or she whines. It's not a pleasant part of the school day.
This is where SpellQuizzer comes in. SpellQuizzer is a spelling software program that helps kids learn their spelling and vocabulary words. The program is a quick learn even for someone like me. Every week when I'm getting prepared for the upcoming academia, I take the kids' spelling books and record a little quiz right on to the program. Takes about 15 minutes for the 3 olders. AND the 3 olders are using two different spelling curriculum. Doesn't matter. SpellQuizzer is a perfect complement to any spelling program. OR, if you don't use a spelling curriculum, SpellQuizzer has pre-made downloadable spelling lists already available. PLUS, you can export and import SpellQuizzer spelling lists to share with other SpellQuizzer users.
Anyway, once our new week of academia gets going, the kids each take turns at the computer listening to my voice prompts and typing out the words. If they get a word wrong, the program knows it--even if you live in England or Australia!--and will prompt the child with the correct spelling. At the end of the list, the child will be asked to go back and try the missed words again.
I was a little skeptical at first, but as I used the program, something quickly emerged:
The Top 5 Reasons You Should Use SpellQuizzer in Your Homeschool/After School/At School:
I consider myself to be fairly technologically aware; however, just because I'm aware doesn't mean I know how to employ the things of which I am aware. I have never done anything with recording sound on the computer, so I was a little intimidated. But SpellQuizzer is so easy to use!
I went to Wally World and bought a cheap microphone headset and started up the program. All self-explanatory. You type in a spelling word, press "Start", record yourself saying the word and a sentence, press "Stop", press "Add Word", and you're done! Simple. I love simple. PLUS I am only saying the word and sentence once, not everyday! Beautiful!
Also, let's say Alex misses the word mountain on this week's test. I always re-test them the following week on missed words. All I have to do when setting up the SpellQuizzer list for that next week is select mountain from the word database that grows as our word lists grow. I don't even have to re-record it!
You can let your inner child flow right out when you record the words. Have fun! You can make up silly sentences or recite them with dramatic flair or in a funny voice. Or a funny accent. Try a British accent, which actually might help your speller! Take the word British, for example. If I say it in my honky American accent, my kid might spell it B-r-i-d-i-s-h. But if I take her to London for a spot of tea, she's sure to get it right!
Whatever quirkiness you decide to use on the spelling lists, that quirkiness makes the words much more memorable for your spellers, and guess what? Making learning memorable cements those words in their brains for longer than the five minutes it takes to pass the spelling test.
Silliness aside, presenting spelling lists to your kids this way allows you to remind them daily of important rules to keep in mind when spelling. For example, let's say the spelling word is receive. You could prompt with something like, "The next word is receive. Don't forget the rhyme about i and e when spelling this word. Receive."
Or you could help them actually learn what the word means and not just how to spell it. For example, if the word is enthusiasm, you might prompt with, "Next is enthusiasm. Go ahead. Show your enthusiasm for these spelling words by doing a little jig right by the computer. Go ahead! Oh, and don't forget to spell your word! Enthusiasm."
Kids. Enjoy. It. That's right. They actually enjoy doing their spelling words. I don't get any whining now or eyerolls. This morning, after he had finished SpellQuizzer, Jacob proudly told me, "I got them ALL right, Mom! I didn't have to re-do any of them!"
And the #1 Reason You Should Use SpellQuizzer in Your Homeschool/After School/At School:
IT WORKS! Since we began using SpellQuizzer, all 3 of them have hugely improved their spelling scores. It's no secret that, even with my oldest, we've struggled a bit on the Spelling Front 'round here, but they all did very well on their last test. Judging from Jacob's comments, I'm expecting some perfect scores this week. And of course, these improved scores mean a huge confidence boost to my spellers. Added bonus.
In all fairness, in reviewing a product I try to look for any cons of the program. Well, I certainly didn't find enough for an extra Top 5 [pause while you breathe a sigh of relief since--as you know--I tend to get a little wordy anyway]. I only found one downside. I wish there was a record-keeping system as part of the program. For example, after a child has completed his list, he is asked if he would like to go back and try the words he missed again. I have made it mandatory for my children to go back and re-spell; however, I would love a Gradebook of some sort which would tell me how many he missed and if he re-tried those tough words. NOT that I can ever imagine any of my angelic little children disobeying and not going back (ahem). I'm just sayin'.
(I have been told a Gradebook of some kind is coming in the near future. (The folks at SpellQuizzer are very responsive and helpful, by the way.))
That said, I am more than thrilled that SpellQuizzer is now a part of our daily schedule. It takes a dreaded task out of my lesson plan book and builds my children's confidence. I have a feeling I'm going to hear a lot less of this: "You want me to write a WHOLE paragraph? But I don't know how to spell ANY of the words!"
So...would you like your own SpellQuizzer? I thought you'd never ask. The kind folks at SpellQuizzer have authorized me to give away one free SpellQuizzer license. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post. Your comment will put your name in the proverbial hat (limit one entry). I will pull one lucky winner from that proverbial hat in 1 week, so you have until 5:00pm next Tuesday, April 13, to comment. In your comment, why don't you tell me how spelling goes in your house and how you think SpellQuizzer could help you out?