SpellNow Year 2 Challenge
A fully comprehensive app that helps young people in the process of learning how to spell
Just like its predecessor SpellNow Year 1, this app has all the hallmarks of a developer that completely understands its subject but also the power of an app and its ability to blend gamification with learning. Everything about the app oozes this knowledge and a regard to improving young people’s abilities in reading and spelling. Although it is geared towards the US common curriculum there are a number of areas where this works extremely well for any English speaking country. This is because it covers the main areas and building blocks of spelling with repetitive games and experiences that help young people through the stages of learning to become more confident spellers.
Even on opening the app you can see that the developers have spent time thinking about how such an app needs to engage the user and this is particularly relevant to the age range that would use this app. There is a nice Winter/Christmas feel to the app and the user can select different types of background ‘Festive’ music. It feels like an app that you would love to curl up with on the sofa on a cold winter night and enjoy! However it is also so much more than this!
The developers haven’t messed with any of the successes of the Year 1 app but have built upon the success instead. On the opening page you have access to more information about the app as well as the ability to enter a settings menu to change the music (as mentioned above). In the ‘About’ menu the user can link to the developer’s website where there is further information about themselves as well as information on their philosophies about education and gamification. At the moment there is no information on SpellNow Year 2, however, there is information on the first app and a suggestion that if a user is struggling with the Year 2 app that they might need to take a step back to Year 1. As the website follows the quality of the app in design I would fully expect there to be information on it soon to the same quality as the first app, although at the moment this is one small area that could be developed.
The app itself features 4 different ‘terms’. Each term contains 10 different lists and then each list contains 6 games. Due to this there is a huge amount of game play which at $1.99 for the app offers extremely good value for money. As you move through the terms it gets progressively harder adding a progressive element of learning to the app. Also due to the structure of the app the user could quite easily work their way through each term and list in order or skip ahead if they felt that the early stages were being completed quickly with more challenge needed.
The app also uses the same 6 games throughout each list and it is this repetitive nature that I feel adds a great sense of familiarity to the app that would engage users to continue to use it. Instead of spending time trying to work out how to play each game the user can actually focus on the content of the app and its purpose, helping to expand and further the individuals spelling abilities. This is definitely where the developer’s knowledge shows and puts the app above others of its type.
There are a number of extra features that also add not only to the overall effect of the app but also to the users experience and any adult who may be guiding a young person through the app. For instance, once you have clicked on each term you are given a pyramid of each of the 10 lists available. Next to the ‘play’ button there are two further information buttons. The first of these gives the user, or the person guiding the user,# an explanation of the type of words or sounds that appear in the list. The other button then gives the list of words that appear in this section. This really helps to personalise the learning of the app to the individual and would definitely benefit a professional using the app in a school setting to target certain lists and terms to specific children depending on their needs and abilities.
Alongside these two extra buttons there are spaces for ‘medals’ to appear depending on how well the user has done on each on each of the games in that list. This is clearly visible and really adds a competitive element for the user, to try and get gold in each one, but also works well for an educator to see, at a glance, where the user needs to maybe improve. Again, it is these small additions that add value to an already highly successful app.
Overall, everything about this app works really well and builds well on successes of the Year1 app. I’m sure parents and educators will agree that this is a series that has the potential to run to at least another couple of apps too!
From the Developer
Is your 2nd grader ready for the SpellNow Year 2 Challenge? With 777 words and sentences to work from and 6 fun games, your child will master spelling within no time. Spelling has never been so entertaining!
SpellNow Year 2 Challenge will transform the way students develop their spelling skills. This
educational app gamifies the learning experience to ensure students have fun while learning to
recognise spelling patterns. Students will be transported to a vibrant ice age full of fun and
quirky creatures. Students will love SpellNow Year 2 Challenge as it boosts their spelling
achievement and confidence!
Written by experienced teachers, SpellNow Year 2 Challenge is aligned to the US Common
Core Curriculum and provides students with the essential building blocks of spelling. Targeting
the emergent and transitional stages of spelling, this app helps students make the spelling-
meaning connection that is necessary to become a good speller. SpellNow Year 2 Challenge
covers a broad range of skills from common vowel teams (ou, ow, oi, oy, oo and ou),
ambiguous vowels (ou, oo and ea), two-syllable words with long vowels, initial sounds (th-, br-,
cl- and wh-), final sounds (-nd, -ng, -nt and –mp), tri-blends (scr-, str-, spr-, shr-, thr- and squ-),
plurals, past tense, hard and soft c and g, silent letters, r-controlled vowels, w-influenced
vowels, homophones, compound words and ordinal numbers, to name a few.
SpellNow Year 2 Challenge is organised into four, ten-week terms so that students can work on
their spelling all year around. Each spelling list is organised according to letter-sound patterns
and word family groupings. This allows students can make sense of spelling as they move from
simple spelling patterns to less frequently used words with difficult spelling patterns.
Six interactive spelling games cater to different learning styles - visual, auditory and
kinaesthetic. Each spelling game stimulates students’ sensory skills by transporting them to a
fun and vibrant environment where they interact with quirky characters to develop their
spelling, vocabulary, capitalization, punctuation and dictation. SpellNow Year 2 Challenge is a
totally interactive learning experience that is fun and rewarding. Begin your journey to spelling
- Six interactive games
- Aligned to the Common Core Standards
- Weekly spelling lists
- Target word family groupings
- Develops spelling, vocabulary and punctuation skills
- Boosts motivation and confidence