Using SpellQuizzer Software for Spelling

For some kids spelling is natural and easy, they pick it up without a lot of effort. Kgirl was like that. But for others, spelling is mysterious and clunky, not natural at all. J falls in this camp. Spelling isn’t something he just picks up naturally; he has to intentionally work at it.

When he was 11, spelling became a HUGE issue for him. He had things to say, he wanted to write and share his thoughts and stories, but he couldn’t spell what he wanted to write. It was slow and painful. So he asked, yes, he asked, if we could work on his spelling.

During this time, Dan Hite contacted me about evaluating and possibly reviewing his SpellQuizzer software. Since the timing was perfect for J, and the premise of the SpellQuizzer software is that kids can be independent with their spelling practice using the software, it seemed a great fit for us to try out.

What is SpellQuizzer anyway?

SpellQuizzer is a PC-based software originally designed by a dad for his two daughters to practice their spelling lists independently. The beauty of SpellQuizzer is in its simplicity. You create a spelling list, or import one from their database and then take the quiz. Lists can also be exported and shared with other SpellQuizzer users.

SpellQuizzer software for spelling

Creating a New Spelling List in SpellQuizzer

Creating a new spelling list in SpellQuizzer is very intuitive. Neither J nor I had any problem picking it up. And there are a few features we particularly liked (in the video you’ll see the one J had the most fun with!):

SpellQuizzer Software - Create a new Spelling List screen

  • Randomize List was a plus for me because it meant that J wasn’t just memorizing the spelling words, he was able to pick them out and spell them in any order they were presented to him.
  • Case Sensitive allowed him to put in proper names as spelling words and have it automatically check to see if he was capitalizing the word correctly.
  • Reminder Phrase we used even when he was recording audio, as it helped him have  a context for the word or a definition.  The other idea I have for using this field is as a vocabulary building tool. A definition could go in here. I’m keeping this in the back of my mind for later when Z and J have a need for memorizing vocabulary words in the future. I can see this being very useful for biology and chemistry.
  • The record button was our favorite. If you have a headset with a microphone, you or your child can record an audio of the word. We choose to do the word and a sentence using the word, but this is completely up to you and how you are using it.  Again, I can think up a whole variety of uses for both spelling and vocabulary building. But so far, we’ve just used it as a spelling aid.  And If you mess up the recording, or get too silly like J did, it’s easy to start again and re-record.

How We Used SpellQuizzer

Even though we’ve tried them and have them, we don’t use spelling curricula or pre-existing spelling lists. Instead, we’ve found the best way for our kids to work on spelling is through their own writing. Because at the time we were evaluating SpellQuizzer, J was intentionally working on his spelling, he was creating his own lists to practice with, so that’s what he did with SpellQuizzer.

Here’s  a quick video that explains exactly how J came up with words for his spelling lists and how he input them into the SpellQuizzer software.

Because I work and homeschool four kids, I’m not usually interested in anything that creates me more work, so I felt it was necessary to test SpellQuizzer capacity for a student to work independently with it.  So J was in charge of installing the software and testing it out on his own accord. This he was able to do without any problems and without any help.

While the software comes with lots of help text, neither of us had any reason to use it.

I did get involved because J was laughing so hard while doing his spelling practice. Then I realized why.  Because he was creating his own lists, he was coming up with his own sentences for the audio – and he was getting a kick out of making up sentences and then listening to them again during the spelling quiz practice. Hence why we were both laughing during the video!

Is SpellQuizzer Right for You?

If you are looking for a way for your child to improve their spelling but doesn’t require a lot of time on your part, SpellQuizzer does that job, and does it well.  It is a drill-and-kill approach, but as you saw in the video, J found a way to make it fun.

If your child needs a multi-sensory approach to spelling, this may or may not fit the bill. If the child is creating their own lists, they’ll get the touch, audio, and visual components, but how the drill-and-kill approach works compared to other multi-sensory spelling programs, I don’t know and haven’t tested yet on Z.

I like that the software is flexible enough to handle both pre-existing spelling lists, any spelling curricula list, and even our method of pulling spelling words from the kids’ own writing.

I really like that kids can use it independently.

On the up and down side, the software is PC-based. It runs on a Windows operating system (Windows 98 through the more current Windows 7). For us, when we had older PCs, having the software run on both newer and older versions of Windows was a bonus.  But It will not work on my MacBook or on one of the newer Android-based tablets or laptop.

SpellQuizzer’s pricing structure is attractive for families with multiple students and/or PCs, as you can choose to buy either a single PC license for $29.95 or get a family license and install it on up to 5 PCs for $49.95.

To get started and really test out if the software will work for you, I recommend downloading the free 30 day trial which you can use without any functionality restrictions. The best way to know whether Spellquizzer is really the right spelling software for you is to just give it a try and see if it meets your needs.

 

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