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WizardsSpell Online Spelling Practice Tool

WizardsWare, LLC
www.wizardsspell.com

244 Shannonbrook Lane
Fredrick, Maryland 21702
703-742-8404 (Virginia)
301-473-8599 (Maryland)


As a homeschool mom with three boys who do not particularly enjoy spelling, I was eager to try WizardsSpell online spelling tutor. I was not disappointed; this was a breath of fresh air for us! WizardsSpell is an interactive online spelling tool that can be accessed from any available Internet connection. No modifications to your computer are necessary, as this is a Web-based program

The first step is to select a package based on how many users you have. One user is required to administer the spelling lists and assignments (this of course, is Mom or Dad) and you'll need to create a login name and password for each user. As administrator, you set preferences for each student, and there are helpful hints along the way to help you decide. Once the set up is complete, you may choose from WizardsSpell's vast library of word lists, or create your own from an additional program.

The lists start on a first-grade level and continue through eighth grade, but I was able to make a custom list for my son, who is in kindergarten. Each grade provides a year's worth of spelling words. I personally loved these lists and worked from them. They include The Grade-Level List, Grade-Level No Excuse Word List, Frequently Used and Misspelled Words Lists, and even a Spelling Bee List for advanced students. Within these lists, you will cover homophones, Latin root words, capitalization, easily confused words, basic spelling rule words, and so many more. You can also modify them, so it's definitely a flexible program designed to suit individual needs.

Now that you have the users and lists set up, all that's left is to login and spell. It's as simple as that! After the login, the assigned word list will appear. Click on the first word to start the practice session. The word will appear in a bold font and slowly fade away. At the same time, a voice will pronounce the word. This may be repeated until the student has a good understanding of the word. By typing "check it" you can see if the word is spelled correctly. At that point the student continues through the list.

As you can see, this is a multisensory program that uses visual and sound clues for each word; however, you may customize that to suit your child's needs. The sound may be turned off, as well as the slow fade of the word. I will say that, on occasion, the sound clues weren't as clear as I had hoped, but all in all, it's an effective tool. The key here is practice, and the great part is that it only takes a few minutes per day. They'll see it, hear it, type it, and remember it. The student may repeat each word and list until he feels confident with it and then take the test. Because the practice sessions and tests are recorded, parents can track progress and see what each student's individual needs are.

The only disadvantage one might see with this program is the sole dependence on Internet connection. The company will also occasionally need to shut down the site for brief periods of maintenance, but they communicate via the parents' homepage to explain what is happening. We only had one day where the lists were unavailable for a short time.

Cost is comparable to other programs when broken down per student, and it is certainly affordable when you consider the price of a tutor. There is a discount for larger families; the maximum cost being $154.00 annually for five to eight users. This can, however, be broken down into small monthly payments if desired, and you may cancel at any time.

Our family enjoyed using this program and found the self-paced, independent study and the progress tracking to be wonderful tools. My children seem to actually enjoy spelling in this encouraging environment, and I have seen improvement. That, to me, is priceless!

I appreciate the quick set up, flexibility, and easy access to the profiles. I can clearly see where each child needs improvement, and we can focus on those areas. If you have a child who is struggling with spelling or if you're just looking for something new, you'll be pleased with this program.



Product review by Amy Christy, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2007


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