Friday, September 3, 2010

SpellingCity.Com - Review


Basic Subscription - Free
Premium Subscription - $24.99 (1 year - 5 liscenses)

Ages: K - High School

I have been using Spelling City for the past two years to help my boys with spelling. I wish I would have found it sooner! This is a great tool at a great price – Free! In addition, if you want to be able to automate testing and tracking of student progress, for $24.99 a year a family can purchase a Premium Membership with five student licenses.

Spelling is a critical component of writing well. Today, many choose to leave spelling up to their word processor, trusting the spell check to catch their errors. This is a mistake. Take it from me, after teaching college both in seat and online for five years now, I can assure you that the ability to spell well correlates to strong writing and comprehension skills.

What I like about Spelling City is the ease of use and the fact that my kids think it is fun. Below are the features I find most useful.

Inputting Words

Typing in words is very easy. You simply login and give your list a name. I name them by child and lesson. Ex – Ben Lesson 1, etc. You can set the grade level and give it a description if you like. There will automatically be an option to type in five words. Hitting enter after the fifth word allows you to keep adding. It’s that simple.

When you are done, you will see a sentence for each word. You have the option of accepting the sentence given, choosing another sentence if one is available or inputting your own. I LOVE this feature! I can add in sentences relevant to what we are studying. Plus, they like seeing their names in the sentences!

You can make the list immediately available or delay it until you are ready for them to work on it. Once the student logs in, he/she has the options to Teach Me, Test Me or Play a Game.

Teach Me

Teach Me is a feature that helps teach each word. Ben clicks on Teach Me and the program shows him each word, pronounces it, spells it and provides a sentence for it.

Play a Game

Both Ben and Noah love to play games! This is one of their favorite features of using Spelling City. The program comes with ten fun games (twelve with Premium Membership). Familiar games like Hang Mouse (hangman), Word Search, a memory game, Speed Spelling (Premium), etc. These games test in three areas: Spelling, Word Meaning and Writing.

Writing is one of the features I really like. Students can choose between writing sentences or writing paragraphs. (More to the point – we parents can assign these options.) The Sentences option asks the student to write a sentence for each spelling word. The Paragraph option asks the student to write a paragraph containing each spelling word. The student can edit and revise prior to saving the completed work to a file or printing it out for us to check.

I don’t know about you – but, my boys do NOT want to write sentences for me if I just ask them to. However, they will do it if it is part of a program. Go figure! But, hey, I’ll take it!


A newer feature to Spelling City is handwriting. My youngest really needs to improve his handwriting. He LOVES his computer and would much rather type everything. (He gets that honestly – Scott and I both have terrible handwriting.) Being able to print out handwriting sheets is a great way to make his handwriting practice relevant to what we are already doing with spelling and vocab.

Test Me

Test Me allows my boys to determine if they have really learned their words for the week. At the end of the week, we take the test. The program will give them the word and the sentence containing the word. If they need additional cues, they can click on Say It or Sentence to hear it again.

Once they are done, they can see what they got correct and what they got wrong. If you have a Premium Membership, the program will track their progress for you. If not, you can print out their completed tests.

I like to add the words they miss to the next week’s words. That way they must get them right instead of just leaving the wrong ones behind.

As you can see, I’m a big fan. It’s a simple concept, but putting this resource online makes spelling a fun and challenging task for my boys rather than drudgery. It allows them to practice all three learning styles – auditory, visual and kinesthetic while learning their spelling and vocabulary. If you haven't tried it already, check it out!

To see additional reviews by the Homeschool Crew click here.

** I received this product free of charge from The Old Schoolhouse for review purposes. **