Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2012
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Kids Learning - Little Speller 3 Letter Words

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Highly customizable flashcard app offers many options but no individual user accounts

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Grades
Pre-K-2 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The customization options are quite impressive, allowing teachers to create their own feedback, lists, and rules.

Cons: No phonetic sounds for letters, and no user accounts to customize features for individual students.

Bottom Line: Little Speller 3 Letter Words is a straightforward title that gives teachers flexibility with customization options.

With so many customization options, you will find lots of ways to use Kids Learning - Little Speller 3 Letter Words. Target a specific word arrangement of consonant-vowel-consonant with each vowel in the preprogrammed library to work with emergent readers on phonics. For older students, build a custom list of spelling words (up to six-letter words) or have kids create their own lists from words they encounter in their reading. For a fun beginning of year activity, create a custom list of class members' names along with their pictures to help students learn to spell one another's names. (Bonus: You'll learn all their names quickly in the process!) Since any word can be added and your pronunciation recorded, foreign language teachers can make use of it as well.

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In Kids Learning - Little Speller 3 Letter Words, kids see a picture with some letters jumbled up. They have to rearrange the letters to spell the word the picture depicts. Teachers can customize it so kids have to spell the word in order or not, or with capital or lowercase letters, or to have the tiles pop into place when dragged near the correct square -- the options are seemingly limitless. If teachers turn off the visual cue (the picture), the app only shows the letters, which makes it challenging to figure out what word can be spelled since it looks like a word jumble. Teachers and kids can also create their own flashcards and word lists.

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Kids scroll through word after word and spell them in this simple app. Each word is paired with a clear picture (which can be turned off). There's also clear pronunciation of each letter and word. However, the app does not include any letter sounds to help phonics skills.

For kids who like to look at pictures and spell, this app is great. But it may not be as engaging to kids looking for something that has more game qualities. The strength of Little Speller 3 Letter Words is in its customizability. Changing the options for hints allows teachers to increase the challenge. Being able to add and edit words increases its range and also lets teachers and kids have some fun with it. 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Compared to many preschool and early elementary literacy apps, there's not much to get kids excited here, though the design and images used are high quality.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Thanks to the customization, many learning goals are covered. The lack of phonetic sounds is unfortunate, but adults can record their own sounds with the customization options.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

Text help screens walk adults through the process of customization. And the customization options make the challenge limitless since you can add your own words and lists.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Denise W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Fairview Elementary School
Roanoke, VA
3
Spelling is as easy as A B C! But unlike the title...you can spell words with 6+ letters in it!

I think it is a great tool to use as a review of matching letters and spelling practice. There are many ways to customize the application to meet the needs of the teacher and the students. The pictures are straightforward and not animated at all (which for some students it is good because they are not distracted, however some students need a little more visual stimulation). My students do have trouble being engaged in the app for long periods of time due to the repetitive nature of the application. I would like to have seen the words sounded out as well as spelled out in order to provide practice with that skill.

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