You will find many different spelling Apps on the iTunes App store and most of them have a few features to recommend them, but few will actually do what I need a good Spelling App to do, which is to recreate the exact spelling lists my children bring home. Luckily there is one I can recommend: My Spell Test. I use this App with my children and I’m impressed with the results. Designed for the iPhone, it looks great on the iPad.
Simple Interface – the controls are very clear, making the program easy to use. The lack of “Bells and Whistles” make it easier for the child to focus on the task. It also makes the App age-appropriate for any age.
Customised lists – It takes only a few minutes to recreate the list your child brings home. Simply add a list and give it a name (I usually use a name such as Yr2Term3Wk8) and then add the words.
Recorded Voice – You will need to record an audio file for each word as you enter it. There is enough recording time to record the word and a short sentence or phrase, e.g. Space. The rocket blasted into space. My children love recording their own voices. Having fun making sentences is an added bonus, particularly if that is part of their other homework.
Testing – the child hears the word spoken and then types the word and presses the next button when done. There are no time limits and the sound file can be replayed as needed.
Re-testing – if a child makes an error, there is no indication and the spelling test continues. At the end of the test, the child is presented with the number of words they spelled correctly, and can view the incorrect words. They get to see the actual word and how they misspelt it, and then they have the opportunity to repeat the test with the misspelt words. The process is repeated until all words are spelt correctly.
Feedback – lack of feedback is more accurate a description, and it is actually a great feature. For some children, hearing a noise each time they make an error can be both distracting and discouraging. Without negative feedback, the child can progress to the end before seeing their mistakes, and at that stage they get to see the correct spelling and get another chance.
Capitalization – words that have capitals (i.e. proper nouns) will be marked incorrect if the correct capital letter is not used.
Word Order – the test is randomized so that words can be tested in any order.
Practice Mode – There is an option to take a practice test before the “real” test. In practice it seems very similar to the test mode, except that words spelt incorrectly are highlighted red and the child needs to spell them correctly to progress. Correct words are highlighted green. I’m not sure how much I do or don’t like this feature, but personally I’ll be by-passing it and going straight to the real test.
Import Lists – The App has a facility to import other spelling lists, which might be useful if teachers wish to make a single list and distribute it via the school website. Details on sharing can be found in the App’s Help section.
If your child spells the word correctly but then includes a space, the word will be marked incorrect. Also, if you accidentally put a space after the word when you create then list, the child will be marked incorrect if they omit the space. Just something to keep in mind. I intend to contact the App’s developers and see if they can work around that one.
I’ve never regretted the few dollars I spent on this App as it does exactly what I need it to do for me and I can use it with students of any age.. At the time I purchased it, My Spell Test was the only App I could find that would let me truly create the same lists my children bring home. Others might let you create a list, but it was with their own words, using mainly US spelling, which was not really acceptable for Aussie kids. Since purchasing the App there have been one or two minor updates that have added functionality to the App. I think it is worth buying this App as it will fit in nicely with your child’s homework needs. Let me know if you try it. I’d be keen to hear if anyone notices an improvement in their child’s spelling or not.
Publisher: Ipoxi LLC