Sharpen student spelling with these mobile apps

Dec 3, 2014
Tech

Registration for the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee ends on December 12. Regardless of participation, teachers and students should constantly look for ways to improve both their spelling lessons and abilities. These five mobile applications are must downloads for spelling bee participants, whether on the national stage or classroom-only competitions!

Registration for the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee ends on December 12. Regardless of participation, teachers and students should constantly look for ways to improve both their spelling lessons and abilities. These five mobile applications are must downloads for spelling bee participants, whether on the national stage or classroom-only competitions!

Squeebles Spelling Test (iOS Android, $3.99)

The effectiveness of Squeebles Spelling Test, developed for children between the ages of 5 and 11, resides in the ability to create extensive spelling lists. The app is totally free of in-app purchases and advertisements, which can help students maintain their focus. Teachers or parents set up spelling tests and record audio examples of each word, matching a comforting voice to vocabulary retention. The spelling tests are gamified, the goal being to rescue the squeebles from the coiled grip of the slithery Spelling Snake.

Spelling Hero Game (iOS, $1.99)

TapToLearn’s Spelling Hero Game uses a fighting game template for spelling practice. Children face off against 10 opponents and must spell words thrown their way in order to advance. The word lists in the app are sampled from lists used in national and regional spelling bees, including Scripps’ Consolidated Word List. Best of all, Spelling Hero Game boasts over 1,000 words, so students will have incentive to keep practicing. It is important to note, however, that some of the app defaults to British pronunciations for pre-recorded audio.

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Freefall Spelling (iOS, $1.99)

Another app, another means for creating spelling lists. Frefall Spelling is beneficial for novice and advanced spellers alike, allowing children to shift between three practice modes: Letter Drag and Spell, Word Scramble, and Typewriter Spell. The app has a friendly design with illustrations and an engaging rewards system. Although Freefall Spelling has not been updated since late 2012, it serves as a great change of pace spelling app that will entertain students at and below the elementary level.

SpellingCity (iOS Android, Free)

SpellingCity and its affiliated mobile app are long-time favorites of many educators. It includes nine spelling games, including a rodent-themed version of hangman. All of these games are practical for learning how to spell new words and sentence construction. The latter helps inform students on how to use words in a sentence, so they won’t have to ask for that life-line during their next spelling bee. Teachers, parents and students can register on the official website (www.spellingcity.com) to create word lists.

Miss Spell’s Class (iOS Android, Free)

Dictionary.com’s Miss Spell’s Class is a free social game where students compete (either on Game Center or Facebook) to determine the superior speller. The gameplay is rather simple; users have to guess if the depicted word is spelled correctly. All selections are from Dictionary.com’s most commonly misspelled words list. While it is not exactly a no holds barred affair, the game’s database houses over 10K words, statistics custom to each player (in the form of a pie chart), letter grades, and much more. Beyond practice mode, the game relies on social networking connections and includes advertisements, so parents and teachers should monitor younger students while during spelling sessions.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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