Spelling can be a real area of difficulty for many children, including those with Special Educational Needs. Trying to encourage their children to practise weekly spelling lists for school can also be a challenging issue for parents. I was therefore very pleased to discover Spell Wizards* this week, who make practising spelling fun!
What is it?
Spell Wizards is an engaging, kid friendly online programme for primary aged children (4-11) to help them improve their spellings. Created by two dads and designed for parents and teachers to use with children, it strikes the perfect balance of fun and learning.
Children listen to a sentence being read to them, whilst it appears on the screen. The key word (spelling) is then removed and the child has to type it into the box on the screen and press enter. If correct, they move onto the next spelling, if not it praises them on good effort and encourages them to try again with a hint.
There’s a free demo to try to see what you think and there are options for subscription, annual or monthly. We are delighted to be able to share with you a discount code for both
Discount Codes for their website are as follows:
Monthly Subscription Discount Code:
- ‘SENResourcesBlog2MMFree’ – £2.75 off for two months of the Monthly Subscription.
Annual Subscription Discount Code:
- ‘SENResourcesBlog2MAFree’ – £5 off the total annual subscription for a parent.
What do we like about it?
- Functionality– The first thing that struck me about this game is its beautiful simplicity. It doesn’t overcomplicate its objective of trying to help children improve their spellings. In fact it’s very easy for children to use, allowing them to practise their spellings independent of adult support. Spell Wizards also has a lovely, clear voice that reads out the spellings- making it easier for children to understand the words. From a parent or teacher point of view, Spell Wizards is also easy to use- I found it simple to join, set up profiles and create customised spelling lists. They have a useful support section of the website that helpfully provides screen shots of everything you might need help on, from the stages of how to join to creating profiles.
- Fun- As those that read the SEN Resources Blog regularly will know, I put a lot of weight on how fun learning resources are. And for good reason as there’s absolutely no point of creating a learning resource if children won’t use it! Spell Wizards is great fun, thanks to its (personalised) cartoon character Avatars, colourful screens, star prizes, sparkling sound effects and positive reinforcement (its lovely to hear the programme telling the child ‘well done’ and that their spellings are awesome!) It manages to turn the task of learning spellings into a game- what a great way of practising!
- Provides spellings in Context– For all children, but particularly for some with Special Educational Needs one aspect that makes spellings tricky is that they are often presented in a list of words without any context or meaning. It can be a lot easier to learn spelling when the words have context. What I love about Spell Wizards is that you can have the spellings as part of a sentence. They are shown on the on screen as a sentence and that same sentence is read to them. This helps children to make links with the meaning of the word and its spelling.
- Differentiated– The spellings used are differentiated by year group and based on the national curriculum for KS1 and KS2. For each year group you can choose options of easy, medium and hard. With ‘easy’ you get the first letter of the word shown on the screen and dashes to show the number of letters in the word you need to spell. For ‘medium’ you get dashes for each letter but no first letter. For ‘hard’ you just have a space and have to work out how many letters there are and what each of the letters are. As the child starts to type the spelling the help button appears, if a child needs some extra support they can click on it for a hint and it shows you the word. These ways of differentiating the spellings and the game help make it accessible for children who find spellings more challenging whilst stretching those who are feeling more confident with their spelling
- Ability to Link to School Spellings– As a parent of a primary aged child I was relieved to find that you can create your own spelling list and change the words and sentences in the game to match any spellings your child is learning at school. This is great from a teacher point of view as well, as you can set the programme up to support the spellings you are focussing on in lessons.
- Develops Additional Skills– Spell Wizards doesn’t just help children with spellings. It also has the potential to develop additional skills such as key board skills, listening and processing skills.
- Track progress- One of the best features of Spell Wizards is that parents and teachers can use it to access weekly progress reports of their child/children. The reports include insightful information such as number of attempts at spelling words and percentage of spellings correct. The most useful information it provided, in my opinion, was the specific spellings that each child found difficult- brilliant for informing future planning and highlighting which words to focus on. The wealth of data provided by the reports could be used to track and evidence the progress children are making and also help tailor future lessons and focus on spellings at home.
Find out more about Spell Wizards here and don’t forget to use our discount codes at the start of this blog post for reduced subscription fees.
* Please note this blog post is Sponsored and we received access to the spelling programme for the purpose of this review.