Friday, March 6, 2009

Review: SpellQuizzer

Tired of the "blah factor" in typical spelling quizzes? You know--study, drill, recite, then repeat? (Gag) Well, SpellQuizzer may be what you need to put some "spice" back into your spelling test routine!

SpellQuizzier is a unique, computer-based program that allows parents the option of using their own audio word lists and hints to create a personal spelling experience for their students.

The SpellQuizzer program is easy to install and user-friendly. The "Getting Started" guide includes several helpful screen shots that help keep the uh, less computer savvy (ahem) on track. Like yours truly here, for example. ;o)

To begin using SpellQuizzer, you must first input your word lists and hints. This can be done either through your computer microphone, by importing pre-programmed lists, or simply writing your own. However, to fully grasp the beauty of this program, I highly recommend you use the voice option. (More on that in a bit.)

Once your lists and hints are established, your job is done. SpellQuizzer then tests students on each word, one at a time, and they enter their answers in via keyboard (not microphone). The program provides immediate feedback, and any words the child may have missed are repeated at the end of the quiz.

Like I said, the beauty of this program lies in the audio recording feature. By using the audio feature, I could say each spelling word in any goofy "voice" I wanted; from my best Scarlett O'Hara, to my impression of "Papi" from Beverly Hills Chihuahua! (Example: "Chihuhua...I am Papi the chihuahua!") The kids thought this was absolutely hilarious, as any time Mom's a bit off her rocker makes for a good day. :o)

SpellQuizzer creator, Dan Hite, a software developer and father of two, highly encourages the use of silly voices to add an element of fun to the whole SpellQuizzer experience. I couldn't agree more!

But like I said, if you don't have a microphone, or just refuse to speak like a chihuahua, you can still use SpellQuizzer. Simply add the words you want your children to learn, or import SpellQuizzer's recommended lists available here. Please note however, that although hints are optional with the audio feature, they are required if you choose to create your own lists.

Overall, I felt this was a pretty nifty program. It's both parent and kid-friendly, with extra keyboarding practice thrown in (on the sly) as an added bonus. SpellQuizzer is great for all ages and grade levels. Those students allergic to handwriting (like...oh, son!), and families with multiple children would probably gain the most use from it.

Obviously, I don't recommend it for students who aren't keen on using computers. My daughter, Abby falls into this category. She enjoys playing games on it, but hates using it for school. (Go figure.)

You can try SpellQuizzer free for 30 days. After that, it costs just $29.95.

I proudly award SpellQuizzer with 2 (t-w-o) thumbs up. :o)

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