Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2012
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Word Wizard - Talking Movable Alphabet with Spell Check and Fun Spelling Tests

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Super-structured spelling support and word-building free play, too

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
K-3 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Lots of tips built into the spelling tests, and fun visual rewards.

Cons: Pronunciations are not 100 percent accurate on the open spelling board.

Bottom Line: Helps kids improve spelling through pre-made or custom lists and word building.

Because Word Wizard has both an open movable alphabet board and more structured pre-made and make-your-own quiz options, it is an ideal tool for a wide range of students, including those with special needs, ELL students, and advanced students. Introduce your students to the movable alphabet by giving them picture cards of three-letter words and advance to small objects (such as small plastic animal models, game pieces, or small household items) to spell or prompt short sentence creation. Use the pre-made spelling lists for an organized system of spelling practice that increases in complexity, or insert your own weekly list for students to practice on Word Wizard before taking the in-class test.

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Word Wizard - Talking Movable Alphabet with Spell Check and Fun Spelling Tests is a spelling, phonics, and short sentence-building practice tool for emerging spellers. The spelling word lists and the option to create your own spelling study list are key features. First, create usernames for each student. Then, each kid chooses his or her username and taps on Movable Alphabet or Spelling Quiz. On the movable alphabet board, place letters into boxes as the narrator speaks each individual sound. The student can build a word or sentence. In the quiz mode, dozens of built-in word lists pop up, as well as the option to create a new list, which is as easy as entering the list title and typing in the words. The options to customize include changing the voice speed and tone, showing only certain letters in the movable alphabet for beginners, and more. On the open spelling board, an occasional mispronunciation can get through. Unless students are coached to know that the slight red glow around a word means it's misspelled, they may not keep trying for the correct spelling if the pronunciation sounds right. Spelling lists and tests are accurate, and they won't let kids move forward until they spell the word correctly.

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Word Wizard helps kids improve their spelling by creating their own lists and playing with word-building on their own.The spelling lists and the ability to make your own lists for kids to practice for their school spelling tests make it a very useful language tool, especially in the classroom. It can be fun for kids to spell their own words or sentences and hear them spoken back by a computerized voice, too. Be aware this is not a perfect word-to-voice translator: Kids may misspell some words on the open spelling board and still have them auto-pronounced correctly; teachers may want to clue students into looking at the red glow around incorrectly spelled words and remind them to keep trying or ask for help so misspelling isn't reinforced.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
2

Kids can spell their own words or sentences and hear them spoken back by a computerized voice. Quizzes are essentially rote recollection, although when kids complete a word, they get a sparkly animation as a reward.

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

By playing on the talking board, kids learn letters and letter sounds. (Note: The pronunciations are not 100 percent accurate.) Kids can also take practice spelling tests, which may transfer to increased classroom-based testing confidence.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Detailed progress and test reports. Choose the voice's speed, tone, and U.K., Australian, or American English. Spelling lists and tests give hints and won't let kids move forward until they spell the word correctly.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Beth L. , Special education instructor
Special education instructor
Van Wyck Junior High School
Wappingers Falls, NY
4
Great app for independent practice of spelling words.

This app is great for letting students have independent practice with spelling words. Although there are not extension activities with this program, it is wonderful for the basic purpose that it serves and the students love using it.

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