Better Spelling (School) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Better Spelling
By School Software
BBC Model B

Published in The Micro User 4.05

Useful practice for shakey spellers

Better Spelling is a program designed for 9 to 14-year-olds to reinforce the various rules of spelling.

I would assume these rules have already been taught at school, in which case this program is ideal for giving pupils more practice in applying them.

It is divided into 11 sections, each demonstrating a certain spelling rule or grouping words which have irregular plurals or past tenses, and so on.

The first section, for instance, covers plurals ending in ies and eys, such as daisies and donkeys.

The rule is clearly written, as are all the instructions throughout. In this exercise the singular word is given and the pupil is asked to type in the plural.

A correct answer merits a "Well done" and a happy note of music, while an incorrect response receives a "Hard luck" plus a suitable low note and the correct answer is given to the pupil.

I would have liked to have seen the questions that were answered incorrectly repeated at the end of each exercise and repeated again until the correct answer was given. This would reinforce the correct spelling.

The number of correct and incorrect answers is shown on the screen throughout the exercise, but at the end only the number of wrong answers is given.

Why not show the number of correct answers as well, and perhaps even the percentage accuracy?

The first exercise has 20 words. Others have as many as 50 words or as few as nine.

The first and second exercises are relatively easy - they are all fairly common words which most top junior children should know.

The third exercise on irregular plurals - larvae, radii, emphases and so on is much more difficult. It helps if you know some Latin.

> The sections on prefixes and suffixes require some vocabu lary knowledge - the pupil has to choose the correct prefix or suffix from a given list and add these to the base words.

The last section on common spelling errors is very useful. It presents you with a sentence which you must complete by choosing the correctly spelt word from the list of options.

I'm sure more words could have been included in this section, but I was glad to see all the common ones, especially "there, their, they're" and "of,off".

> Finally there is the option of having sound or not. I didn't like to hear a little bleep or varying pitch every time I pressed a key. In a crowded classroom this might be annoying.

This is a useful program to give pupils who need more practice in applying spelling rules.

Carole Sillers

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