Monday, April 26, 2010

Spellquizzer Review and Giveaway

Spelling has been sort of the thorn in my side, if you will, this year. We have tried a few different things, taken a few different approaches yet Biggest still struggles with spelling. Maybe it's normal, maybe it's me I don't know. But what I do know is that I am always open to try something new that might help!
Not long ago I was asked to review a spelling program entitled SpellQuizzer. I had never heard of the program before so prior to agreeing I did some research. What I found got me pretty excited.
While at the SpellQuizzer website I watched the demo videos and became interested in this testing program. It seemed so basic to manuver and was very clearly explained.

spellquizzerThe Software
So what exactly is "SpellQuizzer"?
SpellQuizzer is a spelling software created by a man by the name of Daniel Hite. He has been a software developer since the mid-90's. He later would develop and market Auction Sentry, the popular ebay user utility.
"SpellQuizzer is a program created to help with the testing of spelling words. Using SpellQuizzer you can enter the child's weekly spelling list and make audio recordings of the words in the list. The software then quizzes the child, playing each word back to him one at a time, checking his spelling as he types in the words. SpellQuizzer corrects him when he types in a word incorrectly, and re-quizzes him on any words he missed once the first pass is completed. Just set up the child's list on Monday, and have him spend no more than five to ten minutes a day letting SpellQuizzer quiz him. By the end of the week he will be ready for his Friday spelling test." Sounds simple enough huh?!

My experience
After downloading the software to my computer I was very easily able to begin entering the list of words and making the audio recordings. This was so easy because the demo videos on the website are very clearly done and because this software is not one of those that require you to sit down and read a little booklet before you even begin using it! It is made for the computer whizzes and the computer illiterates!!
I have to tell you that I really had so much fun making up my own crazy sentences for Biggest to use! This was a great way to personalize her list for her and to make her laugh because of the silliness of some of them. And since I was creating the sentences I was not worried that she was going to come across somthing that did not want her to!!
I used a headset to record the sentences and even though the children were watching a video with Mr. Mac in the same room no background noise was recorded! GREAT!!
So did this program work?! Well she aced her test...and she laughed at my sentences!!
The only thing that stood out to me about this program is that for the little ones who've never used a keyboard "hunting and pecking" at the keys might possibly frustrate them. I just stayed close by and helped Biggest when she needed to find a letter. I imagine that with frequent use she will begin to memorize where the letters are placed. You could also have your child dictate the words as you type them out.
A great perk is that this software is designed to be used with any spelling program. It can also be used for non-homeschooling and homeschooling families alike. Mr. Hite has even created a page specifically for homeschoolers here.
More great things to know about this software:
1. SpellQuizzer's built-in spellchecker recognizes both US and UK English spellings. The spellchecker warns the user when creating a spelling list if they enter a word that appears to be spelled incorrectly. Because of this safeguard it's reasonably safe to let children create their own spelling lists guided by the curriculum they are working on.
2. There are several free downloadable spelling lists for SpellQuizzer on the website here. These lists include pre-made sound recordings.
3. Users can easily export and import SpellQuizzer spelling lists to share with other SpellQuizzer users. This makes it easy for members of homeschool groups to share their lists rather than everyone having to record their lists individually.
4. If a user doesn't have a PC microphone they can usually be purchased at any department store's electronics department for under $10.
5. YOU are in control of what your child is hearing! You don't have to depend on someone else's sentences. This can be as personalized for each child as you want it to be!
6. There is a 60 day risk-free trial!!
7. The system requirements: Runs on any PC using the Windows operating system (Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, ME or 98). If you have a Windows PC that is 10 years old or less SpellQuizzer will run on it with no difficulty.

And now for the fun part!!!
Mr. Hite has so graciously allowed me to give away his SpellQuizzer software to one of my readers!! Ooohhh don't you just love that word?! Give away?!!! Here's what you have to do:
1. Post a comment to this post and leave a way to contact you in case you are the winner.
2. Go to the SpellQuizzer website, check it out, come back here and tell me what interests you most about this software.
3. Spread the news to anyone else who can benefit from this software!! Make sure that you let me know if you've posted this on your blog, facebook, twitter, emailed etc. Please leave a new comment for each entry.
Giveaway ends 04/29/10 at 11:59pm. Winner will be notified via email. Winner is responsible for responding by 05/03/10 or a new winner will be picked. Winners will be chosen via

Lovin' Learnin'

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