Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Website Review:

Another online spelling practice website review (see post below). This is for Spelling City

Enter your word list as individual words or in a list separated by commas. As far as I can tell, your list is not saved from one visit to the next as at unless you create a personal homepage for this purpose (homepage provided by the website). This site has more spelling-related games, and the games are more puzzles than arcade-style. Some of the games are printable and handwriting practice sheets, using your list, are available to print.

Teach me
: choose a spelling word from a drop down list of your words. The word is spelled by a variety of female voices and each letter appears in a box as it is spelled. Kids will see and hear the word spelled. The word is used in context in a sentence and the word is repeated once more. Kids must choose each of the words from the drop-down menu to have it "taught."

Play a Game: a variety of games are offered and some are printable so you can take them offline.

Word Search: chooses 8 of your list words and puts them into a fairly tricky word search. The words are forward and backward, up and down and diagonal and the filler letters are many duplicates of letters in your word, so it's a challenging puzzle. It's fun to click and drag the little red circle around your word. Also printable. Customizable by easy/hard, long game/short game and timed or not.

Match It: This game asks you to match by connecting a line between a spelling word (list of 10) and a sentence using the word. Two issues I had with this game a)it is really practicing vocabulary, not spelling (which is fine if that is your goal) and b) the sentences, because they are computer-generated, are sometimes very weird.

examples: word: ally sentence: The ally volunteered at many homeless shelters (isn't an ally someone who is on your side?)

word: lullaby sentence: She whistled a lullaby (who WHISTLES a lullaby???)

word: supply sentence: Can you supply me in an hour? (with what, cocaine?)

I got four wrong out of 10 in this game! (although I did get the lullaby correct!)

HangMouse: As in hangman, spelling word displayed in dashes with the alphabet below. Correct guesses get the mouse a tidbit of cheese, incorrect wakes the cat up just a little more each time.

This game is fine. If you play it to success, you do practice spelling your word. However, it is much more fun to wake the cat with incorrect guesses! Not printable.

Alphabetize: alphabetize 10 of your words by clicking them in order and moving them to the other box.

Provides practice with and familiarity with the word list, as well as alphabetizing practice. I had one out of order and was able to click and drag it to its correct spot before submitting my list, so I got 100%. Printable.

Unscramble: One word is presented in scrambled form. User drags the letters, in the correct order, into the box below to unscramble the word.

I like this game! The user needs to be able to spell the word correctly to get a right answer. It provides good spelling practice in dragging the letters correctly to the box. Letters can be easily rearranged if they've been placed in the wrong order. A pleasant sprinkle of stars and some gentle applause greet you when you are correct. The only tricky thing is that each letter has its own "space" in the box. I began placing them over one spot and then ran out of room in the box for the last letter. I had to drag each one over one place (there is nothing to show the spaces, the letters just bounce into their spot when you drop them. Not a huge deal)

Audio Word Match: Typical memory game where you choose two tiles and if they match they disappear, if not, they flip back over. The word is spoken and read when you choose it.

Not spelling, but good for familiarity with the words. Audio and visual reinforcement. It's always fun to play Memory.

Which Word?: Same silly sentences as before only now there is a choice of four of your words below. Click on the correct word.

I didn't like the sentence before, don't like them now.
One of my sentences: The dog will _____ the walkers. Choices: multiply, spy, horrify, satisfy YOU fill in the blank.

Missing Letter: Choose from four letters to fill in the blank in the word. Only these weren't my words. Not sure where this rogue word list came from.

Sentence Unscramble: Same terrible sentences, only now scrambled.

dog will the horrify walkers Ick.

Crossword: Makes a crossword grid using your words. To get the clue, hover your mouse over the word. No numbers are used in the grid, just arrows showing whether the word goes across or down. The crossword is not traditional in the sense that many nonsense words are made by placing your words next to each other--somewhat confusing.

Guess what the clues are? You should be familiar with which word goes in the nonsensical sentence by this point in the game. I would not ask my child to navigate this confusing game.

Test Me! Provides a box for each word, a button labeled "Say it" which says just the word and a button labeled "sentence" which gives you the word in the sentence. Using the tab key after entering each word automatically says the word. I couldn't get the page to load on my Mac after I hit Check Me, so I'm not sure how it presents the scores. According to the verbage on the home page, once the test is completed, the student can print a report, retake the whole test or retake just the words they missed.

Other than the doofy sentences generated for your words, I like this site much better than kidsspell. I feel like the games are much better for practicing actual spelling of the word list. I would explore the homepage feature for the saving of lists. If you chose not to go that route, I would type the words into Word, separated by commas, and then each time you came to the website, at least you could just copy and paste your list in quickly.

I think I'll have Daisy try a few of these games.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your blog today. I was unable to find a contact link. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment.

I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling and vocabulary words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I see that you have already blogged about SpellingCity is indeed an excellent free tool for teachers and parents. But there are some advantages that SpellQuizzer offers over

- SpellQuizzer doesn't require an open Internet connection. Many homeschoolers prefer not to have their young children working on a computer with an open Internet connection due to all the undesirable material that is on the Internet. With SpellQuizzer there is no need to expose children to the world wide web.

- doesn't have recordings of all the words one might wish to practice. For those it does have the sentences used aren't personalized. With SpellQuizzer you can make spelling lists for literally any words (or even facts) you wish your child to practice with. The recordings you make are in your voice rather than a stranger's. And you can personalize the recordings and even make them funny with an amusing sentence or funny voice. I always try to throw in some funny ones for my daughters such as "Handsome: Your daddy is the most handsome man on earth." That one got snickers. :-)

- may well be around for ever. Or it may go down for good tomorrow. There's no way to know for certain. A person who purchases a license for SpellQuizzer has the software for life whether I stay in business or not.
As I said, is an excellent free resource and I don't mean to attack it in any way with what I've said above. I'm only pointing out reasons one might prefer a product like SpellQuizzer. I would appreciate your reviewing SpellQuizzer in Small Things With Great Love. You can learn more about the program at There's a video demo you can watch at and a community site where SpellQuizzer users can share their spelling lists with one another ( Finally, there's a page targeted to homeschooling families at I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software