PROS / Hooked on Spelling comes with many supplemental learning activities to help your children learn as much outside of the software as they can within it.
CONS / The software has a narrow audience, with spelling words intended for ages 5 to 8.
VERDICT / While the spelling software is designed for young children, the additional resources and the ability to add words of your own make it a great learning tool for kids.
Hooked on Phonics is one of the favorite reading programs for parents and educators. The same company created Hooked on Spelling, software that focuses on helping young children learn how to spell. This is a helpful and enjoyable addition to any homeschool spelling curriculum or a useful learning tool for children who need extra practice. Thanks in particular to its many supplemental learning activities, it wins the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for spelling software.
The software comes with two discs that separate the harder spelling words from the easier ones, so you can start where your child is academically at the moment and then progress from there. The yellow disc has the beginner-level words, and the red disc has the more advanced words.
Unlike some spelling programs that allow you to add your own words, the difficulty of this spelling program is predetermined. Each disc has 20 lessons on it, with 20 minutes learning, practice and play exercises making up those lessons.
Each of the 20 spelling exercises teaches your children the basics of spelling. Your child can learn from the lessons such things as the beginning and ending consonant sounds, beginning and ending blends, rhyming word families, short and long vowels, blends and non-blends, plurals and singulars, sounds of 'y', and irregular words. The exercises play audio for each word so your child can hear how it sounds and see how to spell it.
This is a useful beginning spelling program, and some adults will no doubt benefit from the review it provides if they assist their children in all the supplemental activities. However, it is geared toward quite young children, so it would be of little use to older students or adults, other than those learning English spelling completely from the start.
Supplemental Learning Activities
What makes this one of the best spelling programs for kids is the supplemental learning activities that come with it. The software includes two workbooks that accompany the discs, giving your child the opportunity to write correctly spelled words by hand rather than simply typing on a keyboard while using the software.
You also get printable word lists to use during some extra drills, a laminated spelling study card that you can wipe clean and write on again, and a family game to help teach the spelling words. These fun activities make it so you can involve the whole family in your child's learning and turn them away from the idea that learning to spell is nothing but drudgery. Hooked on Spelling offers more activities outside of the software than any other spelling software we examined.
Armed with these extra printed materials, you can provide some additional tutoring for your youngster without paying the high fees tutors charge and reinforce what your kid has already learned in the software. You might be surprised at how helpful review of this type turns out to be for you as well – your own spelling might improve dramatically as you assist your child.
The program allows for multiple users and displays the completed lessons and progress separately. Each lesson displays a progress chart after your child has completed it, as well as a log of how well your child is doing with this spelling program.
Help & Support
You can applaud your child's success as well as track it with fun progress posters and stickers that mark milestones in achievement. Since Hooked on Spelling is a product of Hooked on Phonics, the developer offers technical support on its website. There's an email address, a FAQs section and a support telephone number available online in case you encounter any difficulties with the software.
Hooked on Spelling is a great tool for teaching children how to spell. It is not as versatile as some other applications, since you cannot add your own words and most of the exercises are designed for young children. However, it does offer a lot of resources to supplement the software, making it some of the best spelling software for learners ages 5 to 8.