We have a handful of spelling apps in our collection. Word Wizard by L’Escapadou is my all around favourite.
Having used it individually and in the classroom, the children overall respond to this one with the most amount of interest. Think about the Fisher Price magnetic chalkboard or See and Spell you grew up with. Now put it on the iPad – that’s this app!
When you open the app the Main Menu has two choices; Moveable Alphabet or Spelling Quizes
Let’s take a look at the Moveable Alphabet first. This a fun way to play with words and start to see and hear how letters work together. Tap on a letter and drag it to the grid. As you tap the letter it is said phonetically. Each time you add a letter the word is sounded out.
These features can be changed in the settings. Tap the wheel on the top left.
Personally, I prefer to have Uppercase turned off and use the Qwerty (keyboard), Phonics and Grid. However you may want to turn the phonics off to work on letter names. When Uppercase is on it looks just like a keyboard. Both upper and lowercase have the arrow for shifting. For children not familiar with a keyboard you may prefer the Qwerty off so the letters are in alphabetical order. I always leave the grid on as it seems too confusing without. For some users who are easily distracted I tun the background from colours to paper.
The app is constantly talking. Which may be a good thing, or you may want to turn some of the verbal cues off. In settings select ‘More Settings’
Speak only when moving a letter – turn off, so that the letter is not spoken when you select it.
Speak only when touching a word – turn on, so that the word isn’t spoken each time a letter is added, but only when you tap the word.
For a user working on typing, or an individual who needs adaptive features, turn the Keyboard Emulation to on. This way the user doesn’t need to slide the letter, only tap it for the letter to appear on the board.
The last thing to note about the keyboard is that there isn’t a delete or backspace button. On the Moveable Alphabet page there is a sweep icon on the top right that erases everything on your board. On the text page this icon isn’t there so be sure to show the users how to take off a letter simply by dragging it back to the keyboard – anywhere works, it will glide back to the right place.
Select from the Main Menu (To get to the Main Menu from the Moveable Alphabet tap the Settings wheel then bottom left, Main Menu). The next pop up has an extensive collection of built in lists. Each folder has numerous lists and additional folders. For example under Dolce there are 6 folders from Pre-primer to 3rd grade. Each of those folders has several spelling lists. Tap the white box ‘View Words’ to see which words are in that list. Use the ‘cancel’ or back arrow button to look around some more or ‘use list’ by tapping the orange button in the top right.
We are going to look at how to make your own spelling list. Many other spelling apps either aren’t customizable or require you to record the audio. This one is quick and easy adding another nugget of gold to this great app.
- Tap ‘My lists’ on the top right
- Tap the ‘+’ button to create a list
- Enter a title for your list. I called mine ‘today.’
- Enter the words for your list. Each word is separated by a comma so for my spelling list of numbers, the ten numbers are entered as pictured.
- tap ‘Save’ in the top right
- tap ‘Use list’ to start.
That’s it! When you do the test there are built in prompts that start to show you what the buttons are. After taking the test the user gets to play with the fun moving stars. The amount of time that this can be accessed can be changed in the ‘More Settings’ options.
You can always go back and edit the words. On the “My Lists” page tap the white ‘view/edit’ button to modify the list. You can delete the list by tapping the orange ‘edit’ button then the red circle to delete it.
Some of the things that I would love to see in future updates of this app include a practice mode, where you can view the word (without using the hint button) and also the ability to hide the hint button for those who have learned the easy way out 🙂 Overall this app has so many wonderful features it is well worth the $2.99. It is also also available in French!
And a last thought. I’ve heard that some people are using it to communicate since it speaks what is spelled. Talk about inexpensive AAC!
These recommendations are made by Amanda Raichelle of iEmpowerU and are general ideas only. These apps may not be appropriate curriculum for your child or other individuals. Before implementing these or any other changes, discuss these recommendations with your Behaviour Consultant, SLP, or other professionals involved.