Saturday, March 7, 2009


“I thought it was a really helpful study tool. I liked how it would go back and test you on the words you didn’t know; the words you originally got incorrect.”

That’s what Sammi, age 17, had to say about SpellQuizzer, a Windows based spelling software program created by Dan Hite of TedCo software. Sammi became my test market victim, because she is the poster child for students needing assistance with spelling.

When Sammi and her older sister were in grade school they practiced spelling on a daily basis. No amount of workbook pages, flashcards, etc., ever proved to make spelling an easy subject for Sam. In fact, as she began studying French, her second language of choice, we discovered she struggled with spelling in that language too. We joked about it saying at least she was consistently a poor speller in all languages.

Sammi has now moved on to post-secondary classes at a local university and I no longer spend time trying to help her with spelling on a regular basis. Unfortunately, college level French classes require precise spelling in order to successfully pass portions of the course and Sammi’s quest to become a good speller has now taken on even greater value. She is planning to major in French and hopes to someday become a French teacher.

She had her first official college mid-term in French last week and I thought it would be a great opportunity to put the value of SpellQuizzer to the test. I prepared a list of French vocabulary words to use with the SpellQuizzer program to serve as a study tool for her test. I was anxious to see if SpellQuizzer could help Miss “Spelling Challenged” conquer her mid-term.

SpellQuizzer allows families the opportunity to create individualized word lists through the use of the computer keyboard and if possible, a headset microphone. Simply type the word into the program after clicking on the correct “create a list” prompt. After typing choose to record or type a sentence using the word. This sentence will be given to the student during the quizzing process. If utilizing the record option, simply click on the appropriate record button and SpellQuizzer allows nearly 20 seconds for recording your sentence through the use of a headset microphone. I thought the voice prompt worked especially well for foreign language study because training the ear is such a large part of working towards fluency. The whole process of adding the words and recording my sentences took about 15-20 minutes time and left me saying things like, “Cool!”, “Very Fun!”; words I would never have used before to describe Spelling or vocabulary drill work.

The SpellQuizzer program is easily downloaded to your home computer from the website, The cost is $29.95 and may be used by a family for multiple children. Easily understood demonstration videos are available on the website. I used these to learn how to create spelling lists, use the spelling lists, import files and export files.

The importing and exporting of files makes SpellQuizzer an even better value. Customers can potentially not purchase a formal spelling curriculum and simply use SpellQuizzer’s graded word lists on their site. Some of the word lists are organized around a theme. I saw, for example, a St. Patrick’s Day word list and noted how much fun it would be to study holiday spelling words one week instead of a typical grouping of words based on grade level.

As a homeschool Mom I am always interested in products which will make my life a bit easier and help educate my kids in the process. SpellQuizzer is like a friend living inside the family computer ready and willing to quiz kids on their spelling words. With a touch of creativity families can use SpellQuizzer as a learning tool for vocabulary development too. Being able to personalize the word lists with your own sound recordings really adds to the fun and versatility of the program. A few minutes of preparation and SpellQuizzer will take over for the teacher making sure students are ready for their next spelling test.

Sammi had her mid-term last week, but still hasn’t gotten her results. I asked her if she felt using SpellQuizzer had helped her and she said it definitely did. “I liked it a lot better than flashcards or other study methods, because it kept repeating words I didn’t know. It was a lot easier not to get distracted while studying too. It was like having a partner there with you to study”.

A free 30 day trial of SpellQuizzer is available at the SpellQuizzer website. I highly recomend creating your own test market situation to evaluate this handy program. Kids will love using SpellQuizzer and homeschool teachers will love having an extra bit of help with spelling and vocabulary review.

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