What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SpellingCity is a companion app for the website www.spellingcity.com, where teachers and parents can create customized word lists to help kids improve spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. The app has a lot of flexibility making it helpful for kids who need alternative ways to learn how to spell. It also has an audio component that can help kids who have difficulty comprehending words and spoken language. SpellingCity is designed for kids in grades K-12, but getting started and navigating the app will be tricky for younger users who are just learning to read. It's most helpful when kids can access a web-based SpellingCity word list customized by a parent or teacher in order to practice words they're studying at home or school.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- identifying strengths and weaknesses
Engagement, Approach, Support
The interface is colorful and appealing, and the games are engaging for kids from kindergarten through high school.
Kids can see and hear words from their lists and practice them by rote or layered into fun games. The app tracks activity results and gives kids scores (but unfortunately, no summary of which words kids missed).
There's a support section, but it lacks instructions or a video guide for using the app. There's a link to a YouTube video overview of SpellingCity's companion website, which is a roundabout way to offer help.
What's it about?
Kids can choose a spelling list from the 10 sample lists or search for a list by username, teacher name, parent name, or school zip code. Once they pick a list, kids can choose one of six activities including hangman, matching, sentence unscramble, and a spelling test. The app is best if used in partnership with a parent or teacher's SpellingCity web account. If a parent or teacher has a Premium account, kids can login with a username and password and the app will keep records of their performance on the activities.
Is it any good?
SpellingCity is a great assessment tool, particularly for classroom teachers and homeschooling parents. Even if kids don't have access to a student login for SpellingCity, the app's engaging and colorful interface draws them in and offers fun ways to build spelling, vocabulary, and grammar skills. The pre-recorded audio playback reinforces learning and custom spelling lists motivate learners with words that are relevant (for teaching specific subjects or to learn various spellings of a root word, for instance).
It's important to note that the app is meant for student use only; there's no teacher or parent login available in the app. In addition, kids and parents can't use SpellingCity to make their own spelling lists -- this has to be done on the website. And in order for the app to save any learning data, kids must have access to a student login, which is only available if a parent or teacher has a Premium membership.
Families can talk about...
Use your kids' spelling words in everyday life -- around the home, on the way to school, at the grocery store, in conversations over the dinner table.
Reinforce learning by asking your kids to write out each spelling word on paper. Extend learning by helping them write a complete sentence for each spelling word.