Spelling Bee Games & Tests

Rating Spelling Bee Games & Tests - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • Android, iPad, iPhone
  • Free
  • age 5+
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About Spelling Bee Games & Tests

Spelling Bee Games & Tests is a homework support tool for helping kids to manage and practice the spelling lists given to them by their teachers. It includes built-in word lists to practice and makes it easy to import custom word lists. The app also has helpful arithmetic practice tools.

This app is suitable for kids of any age who receive lists of words to practice spelling for homework or for parents to help kids who struggle with spelling. The app is free to download on iOS and Android devices, with extra features activated by in-app purchases.

This Spelling Bee Games & Tests review uses the fully expanded app on iOS with all in-app purchases activated.

Spelling Bee Games & Tests Review

What is Spelling Bee Games & Tests app?

Spelling Bee Games & Tests facilitates practice by:

Letting kids practice spelling words after hearing them spoken.

Playing word games like hangman and word searches

Spelling Bee customises content and aids organisation by:

Making it easy to scan spelling homework word lists into the app using its camera and recording supporting sentences utilising the device's mic.

Bonus content:

Spelling Bee also has practice content for arithmetic, including times tables.

What we love about Spelling Bee Games & Tests app.

Spelling Bee is built on ideas that it is hard to believe haven't been realised this well before. Where many other apps provide a parallel approach to teacher-led learning, this app enhances the traditional approach.

The enhancements make it easier for kids to practice words set by their teachers, for parents to support their children and for teachers to have confidence that kids have had an excellent opportunity to practice the set spelling lists. The small effort required to use Spelling Bee to help practice should be more than offset by the subsequent convenience the app affords, improved practice opportunities, and reduced risk of losing the homework lists.

Some question-and-answer apps use multiple choice inputs, which are not ideal. These quiz formats are the easiest to answer as they rely on recognition rather than recall and do not reflect how spelling and arithmetic skills are typically used. Spelling Bee asks users to enter answers from scratch using a built-in keyboard.

What skills does it teach?

The primary purpose of Spelling Bee is to help make it easier for kids to learn spelling. The in-built word lists reflect different grade levels. There are also arithmetic practice options built into the app.

What age is it appropriate for?

Kids develop their English language skills throughout their education, and learning to spell new wordss is part of this. Spelling Bee's design is particularly relevant to primary/elementary-aged kids. 

Is Spelling Bee Games & Tests app easy to use?

Spelling Bee is logically laid out and easy to navigate. All of the built-in activities and practice content are intuitive to use.

Creating a spelling list is straightforward. First, choose a name for the list; this might be a theme or the date the homework was set. Ideally, you should be able to isolate the words on the homework sheet by framing it with the device's camera or by folding the paper. Once the photograph is taken, the app takes a short time to process the image and turn it into text. 

The next step asks the user to reject any words that are not correct, if any, as the app is very accurate in recognising the characters. At this point, parents or kids have the opportunity to record a sentence using the word. This bit is especially important if the word shares its pronunciation with another written differently, such as would and wood.

Once everything is okay, kids only need to choose the list by its name and enter their answers. Players enter their answers using the on-screen keyboard.

How will students benefit?

Kids don't mean to lose their homework lists, but it isn't uncommon. If you help your kids scan their spelling lists into this app as soon as they get them, kids will never find themselves without their study material. We'd recommend that parents assist with this step to ensure accuracy and help with ensuring recorded sentences use the words correctly.

Armed with the word lists on their (or your) mobile device, kids'll be able to fit in a quick bout of study whenever they have a chance, such as on journeys or when waiting around. This will leave them free to do other things when they have other options.

Kids with their word list secure on a device won't have to face the embarrassment of asking their teachers again for a new list nor risk having to do a test without having had the opportunity to revise properly.

The words included by the app are accompanied by a sentence which uses the term. This is very welcome because it avoids kids from misunderstanding the question and thereby correctly spelling the wrong word. When this happens, it can be very demotivating, so it is good to see the app take steps to avoid this situation.

The games might not have the graphical effects that kids are used to from entertainment titles or even other educational apps, but they play well and achieve their purpose of varying how kids practice the words. The games include the perennial favourites of word searches and hangman.

How will parents benefit?

Parents and kids are used to receiving lists of words from teachers to learn, but most apps rely only on their internal word lists. Incorporating word lists from teachers seamlessly with this app has many benefits. 

Organisational—once kids have committed the words to this app, they can't be lost

Ease of use—adding the word list is as easy as taking a photo of them

Cost-effective—the app has times tables and arithmetic learning sections as a bonus which may save an additional app purchase

Spelling Bee provides excellent feedback that parents can use to see how many words children got correct. Perhaps more importantly, the app also shows the answer entered by kids so that parents can spot the types of words their children most frequently get wrong. Knowing that kids often get ie/ei mixed up, for example, will let parents concentrate on helping their kids with this difficulty.

How will teachers benefit?

Spelling Bee is most at home on a family device where it can support kids as they learn spellings and engage parental support more effectively, but this has benefits for teachers. Using the advantages of features only an app can provide alongside kids' preference for technology over paper, this app makes it more likely that teachers' students will learn the set words.

Even if teachers don't directly purchase or use this app, it is one that they could usefully recommend to parents and students.

Good to know

Although it is much easier to enter a spelling list into the app by taking a photograph, it is possible to enter it manually.   Having kids type in words is a helpful activity for learning to spell, but we'd recommend not to do this for inputting the teacher-set ones because incorrectly entering them could lead to kids learning erroneous spellings. Only enter the terms manually if the photo recognition does not work.

To be safe, double-check that the app has recognised the words correctly. If they are handwritten or printed using an ornate typeset, errors might appear. During this review, the word recognition was accurate.

Spelling test practice is untimed, while arithmetic exercises report how long kids take to complete them. This makes sense as kids need time to think with spelling, whereas fluency is important with times tables. In England's year four multiplication tests, for example, kids need to be able to answer a question in about four seconds.

How much does Spelling Bee Games & Tests app cost?

Spelling Bee is free to download with reduced functionality. In-app purchases unlock the rest of the app if you need the functions they provide.

Spelling Bee is compatible with the Apple Family Sharing programme allowing up to six family members to use the app.

Is Spelling Bee Games & Tests app safe to use?

Parents can send the results of in-app tests to contacts via external apps, social media, or email. A parental lock protects this function.

This lock asks parents to input the answer to a simple multiplication. In itself, the lock might be too weak to sufficiently prevent many kids who use this app from getting past it, but it is further weakened by always using the same question rather than randomly generating it.

Parents will need to decide whether this lock, concerning the functionality it protects, is acceptable to them.

What can Spelling Bee Games & Tests app improve on?

After a short while of using the app, it begins to ask for the user to leave a review. While it is understandable that app developers of a useful product like Spelling Bee want their users to give feedback, nagging for reviews isn't something that suits an educational app. 

We'd rather see the prompt for reviews go behind the parental lock. This move would be beneficial for the app, too, as kids tend to leave reviews that reflect frustrations not caused by the apps in question. Parents will leave a more considered review that reflect how well the app has met their child's educational needs.

The app could add an error check for scanned words by comparing them to an in-built dictionary. If it highlighted any that do not match, it would help parents spot any words that have not been scanned accurately.

The app's website could usefully incorporate some example lists so that parents anticipating homework lists but don't yet have any can try out the list-building features in advance. A few of these themed around specific letter patterns or topics would also provide helpful practise for kids.

Spelling Bee's presentation is clear and supports the app's use, but it isn't as flashy or full of graphical flourishes as other apps. This lack of glitz could be a pro or a con depending on the tastes of you and your child.

Overall rating of the app.

As you'll have seen in this review of Spelling Bee, it is an excellent app with great practice features and an innovative approach to organising spelling lists sent home by teachers. It might not be the flashiest of apps, but it is more than up to getting the job done, and kids could certainly develop their spelling skills and learn their times table using only this app.

Spelling Bee is a highly recommended five-star app.

App Details

Ratings

Devices

Android, iPad, iPhone

Price

Free

Skills

Academic Relevance
Reading

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Catherine Easton

Download Spelling Bee Games & Tests

You can download Spelling Bee Games & Tests on your iOS or Android devices from the app stores. Download the Spelling Bee Games & Tests app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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Screenshots of Spelling Bee Games & Tests

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