Spell Bear has been developed to help the young children compound and improve their understanding of spelling as they begin to enter the world of the written language. It has been developed by an Australian company and so does carry and Australian accent throughout so this is something to be aware of if you wanting to use this app in a different country. The accent doesn’t detract from the learning within the app though however when teaching young children it is important to be aware of dialect differences with different pronunciations of certain sounds and letters.
This app has been developed to help young people on their journey to become proficient spellers, writers and readers. The app utilises gameplay to help encourage the user to learn through enjoyment and this also goes some way to helping keep a user engaged in the app and wanting to keep coming back. This in good in terms of helping young children in their learning as repetition is one of the strongest aspects in learning especially when it comes to reading and spelling.
Once in the app the user can choose from three different difficulty levels; easy, medium and hard. Each one uses the same words however there is a different amount of support available for the user in each of the levels. For instance in the hard choice the user does not receive and extra helping in getting them to spell the word correctly but in the easy option some of the letters are already given. This means that the user can either work through each of the difficulty options, moving on as they become more proficient, or if they are already confident then they go straight to one of the harder options. Within in the difficulty options the user can also add more words if they wish to. This is a good addition as it gives the app the ability to personalise some of the learning directly to the actual user. This is obviously beneficial as it means that the user can be stretched in their learning.
The way the game works is to have to user drag the letters to spell the word that the picture depicts on the screen. For example the A picture of that is an ant. The user is presented with the letters that spell ant (in the form of children’s letter blocks) and they have to drag the correct letter into the space provided at the bottom of the page to spell the word correctly. To add help the user can click on the letter to hear the sound that letter makes. This helps as it teaches the user the sound related to that letter and helps them to spell the word correctly as they can use the sounds to mimic the word they are trying to spell. At the beginning of each letter the user is reads aloud the word to help them distinguish the correct sounds. One addition that may be useful at this point would be to have the option for the user to hear the word repeated whenever they needed it. This, alongside hearing the letter sounds of the words might be extra help in linking the sounds of letters to their written form.
If the user gets the word spelt correctly there is a lot of praise given. Again this is really good as it encourages the user to keep trying and to feel good about themselves and what they have done. If the user however drags a letter to the wrong place then the app does not accept the spelling helping the user to think about whether they have it right or not. This then allows the user to correct their mistake and not feel like they have made a mistake.
Another good addition to help the user returning to the app and enjoying it is the little shop that is available. With every correct word spelt the user is able to purchase more clothes for the main character of the bear. By earning a paw for each correct spelling they can add different items of clothing and dress bear as they wish. Again, this is a good little part of app that will continue users to return and challenge them to spell more words correctly as they will want to earn more paws to buy more clothes.
Overall this is a good app in helping young children in the initial stages of learning how to spell basic words. There is a requirement that they are aware of sounds of letter formations to access the app and for it to be as beneficial as possible though.
From the Developer
An educational gamified app that teaches children how to spell in a fun interactive way. Children are encouraged to keep trying through encouraging statements like "well done!" and being awarded bear stamps for each correctly spelt word. Bear stamps allow the child to customise their bear by changing the bear's clothes.
Why Spell Bear?
• Multiple difficulty levels to cater for a developing child.
• A reward system to encourage the child to continue trying to spell in a fun way!
• No advertisements!
• No in-app purchasing required so that parents won’t worry about extra payments.
• Works entirely offline once downloaded.
• Reviewed by a teacher, educators and parents.