Why Use Spelling Software?
The top performers in our review are 7Spell, the Gold Award winner; Hooked on Spelling, the Silver Award winner; and SpellQuizzer, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing the best spelling software for you or your child.
Once upon a time, there was no such thing as automatic spell-check. Instead, what you wrote was what you wrote, and it was visible to everyone reading your work – even if your writing was filled with glaring, embarrassing spelling mistakes.
Today, many people rely heavily on automatic spell-check systems, but these do not differentiate word usage and are not always correct. In fact, some can produce ridiculously incorrect, foolish-looking or even off-color results. In the world of work and academia, the ability to spell correctly in English is still a valuable skill that can set you apart in your education, your career progress and your overall communication capabilities.
In addition, it is important for your child to learn to spell properly without electronic help, since this can make the difference when it comes to school reports and tests, formal communication, and ultimately, applications for jobs. The only true way to make certain that everything you or your child write is spelled correctly is to learn how to spell, and spelling software can be a useful tool in helping you do that.
You can use spelling software to teach simple words to young children, help older students supplement their classroom learning and enhance your own spelling abilities. The best spelling software not only teaches you how to spell a word, but also its meaning and pronunciation. Some spelling software can also benefit students who are learning English as a second language. Read our articles about spelling software for more information.
Spelling Software: What We Looked For, What We Found
The way you or your child learns will determine what kind of software you will want to get. The best spelling software offers interactive games and fun activities for practice as well as the spelling lessons. You might be surprised to see how helpful it is when the software provides resources apart from just spelling lessons on the computer to further the entire learning endeavor.
You can see where you or your child needs some extra work using such things as progress charts, graphs or reports that demonstrate how well you or your child are absorbing the information. You will want software that offers technical support in case you need help with any glitches that might arise.
The tools a software application presents can have a big impact on how much you or your child learns. The best spelling software will have a large word database or several built-in word lists. Also, look for software that allows you to add your own words and spelling lists so you can choose the words you master.
Another important feature is the number of games, activities or lessons in with the software. This greatly determines how entertaining the game is and can affect how motivated your child will be to learn. In addition, software that includes teaching tools such as audio, repetition and sentence creation all help with retention.
Online word lists can improve how effective spelling software is for your child. If the software offers online word lists in addition to the included database, or the feature to upload your own, you can create a huge database filled with the words you want the software to teach.
What Else Is Important in Choosing Spelling Software?
Another useful feature found in good spelling software is some kind of printable material so learning can take place not only on the screen, but in other modes as well so the instruction works through different media. The most useful resources are activities, worksheets and flashcards that coordinate with the lessons and use the same words. Seeing the words in a different format can help learners stay focused and give you or your child another method for learning how to spell. Some spelling software applications are also compatible with tablets and smartphones.
The best spelling software should include some form of a progress report, whether it is a graph, chart or data. Progress reports let you see exactly what you are getting right and wrong, and you will undoubtedly benefit the most from a progress report format that is easy to read and pinpoints exact areas that need improvement.
For the most part, spelling software should be easy to navigate and use. However, it should still come with a user guide, as well as contact information in case you need technical support. Some spelling software manufacturers offer forums and FAQs so you can help yourself on minor issues by visiting the company's website.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
The best spelling software is both substantive in its educational materials and entertaining so you and your kids stay interested. Our first-place winner, Ultimate Spelling, can help individuals ages 5 through adulthood improve their spelling. It can also help people learning English as a second language. This software draws upon a stunning number of words, features a new interface and is an excellent educational tool.
Our second-place winner, Hooked on Spelling, is among those programs that provide audio recording, which is a highly useful feature to help you remember what you learn. This software also provides an impressive 20 exercises and printable materials for people who want or need to practice in another fashion besides onscreen.
SpellQuizzer, our third-place winner, employs a 10,000-word database and 198 word lists, and you can add more word lists if you choose. You can also benefit from seeing keyword sentences so you can spot words in context to help you retain them.
Learning how to spell with software can be fun and effective. Look for software that includes a large word database, the option to add more words and interactive lessons. Through effective lessons, games and activities, you and your child can make extensive strides in learning how to correctly spell English words and take on any school assignment, essay or work-related report with confidence and ease.