SpellQuizzer is a computer CD-ROM that dictates spelling words to the student who then types the words on the computer. Because the software plays back the child's spelling list via the speakers or a headset, the parent or sibling is removed from the equation. This can be a great time saver.
Parents or students can create individualized spelling lists using a PC microphone, or they may download the many lists that work with the program; these lists are available for free on the website. Some of them are spelling lists for each grade (1-8), frequently misspelled words, Dolch sight words (common English words compiled by Edward William Dolch in the mid twentieth century), spelling bee practice words/words from Latin, words linked with various holidays, seasons/months/days, Greek mythology, and U.S. states and mottoes.
A man's voice (pleasant and clear) says the target word and uses it in a sentence; then the student types it. When the student is ready for the word to be checked, he clicks the "check" box. If the word was correctly spelled, the next word is given; if the word was misspelled, the correct spelling is given in green text, and the way the student spelled it is shown in red. This provides immediate feedback and a visual comparison. At the end of the test, students are given the option to retest misspelled words. Parents should monitor students who may be tempted to skip this important step in learning their words.
The main menu on SpellQuizzer has six boxes: quiz me, create a list, edit a list, import a list, export a list, and help. The directions are easy to follow. Under the "quiz me" icon are five sample tests, one each for grades 1-5. This is also where new spelling lists are stored for use as they are downloaded or created by the user. To "create a list," you give your list a title and enter your words and/or select them from the software database. Then you can enter a "reminder phrase" (without the actual word in it). This is useful if you don't or can't use the audio feature, which involves recording the words and sample sentences via computer microphone. The "edit a list" feature allows you to select a list and add or delete words.
The "import" and "export" options provide easy access to finding lists in files on your computer (that you have downloaded from the website or another computer). You can even share your created lists with other SpellQuizzer users.
As with any computer program, it can be tempting to completely delegate the teaching to the tool. Parents will want to supplement this program by having the student write out the words and spell the words orally. Also, it would be wise for the student to use the spelling words in other contexts to make certain the words are learned well.
A drawback to the software is the lack of tracking included. I could find no way to log or keep track of the student's progress or missed words.
SpellQuizzer is a great product! It is fun and easy to use. You can tailor it to your exact needs (we created a list with our Southeast Asian country names from geography class), and it can be used independently by children, freeing up valuable time.