A+ Spelling Test
My favourite app for learning class spelling lists
A+ Spelling Test is my absolute favourite app for learning class spelling lists and it is hard to believe that it is available as a free download. Children can use it to set up their own custom spelling lists and are then able to test themselves using a variety of games.
Easy to Use
With just a little bit of adult instruction children will quickly get the hang of the steps involved in creating a spelling list. The first thing they need to do is choose a title. Then they type in each of the words and make a voice recording of them. This is very easy to do with one touch of a button to start recording and another to stop it. Each audio clip last about six seconds so, in addition to saying the word, there is time to put it in the context of a sentence. Users can also listen to their recording before moving on to ensure that it has worked.
Once students have completed their list they can jump straight in and take a test. This works in exactly the same way as a traditional spelling test except that they are listening to their own voices reading out the words rather than that of a teacher or parent.
Alternatively, children can use one of the learning modes to practice their word knowledge before taking the test. My favourite of these is ‘Unscramble’. In this mode all the letters are provided on screen but they are not in the right order and it is the child’s job to rearrange them. This is a great little activity for children who lack confidence in spelling because all the information they need is there in front of them. The app also provides immediate feedback if they choose an incorrect letter, allowing students to make the necessary correction.
The ‘Practice’ mode is similar to the test but it does not track the child’s score. It also gives them the option of having a quick peak at any of the words before spelling them. They do this by clicking on a light bulb icon. Once clicked the word appears for about two seconds before disappearing again. If the child is able to spell the word correctly they move onto the next one but if it is spelt incorrectly the bulb lights up again and the correct spelling is displayed. The student is then instructed to check their answer against the word itself and correct their errors.
‘Ace It’ is the third learning mode that can be used. It does not provide students with any clues before they attempt a word but like the ‘Practice’ mode it gives clear feedback when a spelling is incorrect. ‘Ace It’ then takes this further by continuing to go through these words until the student is able to spell them correctly. The scores obtained in this mode are recorded.
By this stage students should be ready to take the test and once complete they can see the percentage of words they have spelt correctly. The correct spellings and their attempts are shown side by side which students to cross reference and see exactly where they went wrong. If they are feeling up to it students can then take a further test which focuses on just their errors.
A+ Spelling Test utilizes a number of sound teaching principles to good effect. Firstly, it combines auditory, visual, and tactile skills to make the learning of spellings truly multisensory. Then, it provides prompt feedback to students regarding their errors. Finally, there is plenty of overlearning built into the process.
Contrast this with the way spellings are normally handled. Practice usually focuses primarily on the auditory channel with the visual and tactile channels neglected. Then after a class test takes place feedback is often not provided until later in the day.
The Pro version enables users to export spelling lists to a number of devices. This makes it easy for a teacher to create a spelling test and distribute it to an entire class. A user account can also be created to backup spelling lists online and there is an option to share lists with parents via email.
There are no ads or no in-app purchases in either version of A+ Spelling Test. There is a link to other apps by the developer, Innovative Mobile Apps Ltd, but this is protected by a parental gate. This link is well worth following because they produce a number of fantastic apps, many of which are free.
Peter MaxwellEducational App Advice