Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spelling City

When I was a child, I assumed everyone could spell. Learning words was easy for me. In my naivety, I assumed it was a skill you could pick up if you wanted to. It wasn't until I trained to be a teacher that I realized that lots of people weren't so lucky.

Spelling City is useful to parents, teachers, and kids. When you first get to the website, you're invited to enter some words and then choose Test Me, Teach Me, or Play a Game. As simply as that, you're up and running. Or, you can navigate to find out more about the site, which has:

Over 42,000 spelling words and customizable sentences
A REAL person who says each word and sentence
Free home pages for teachers and parents to save lists
Teacher training videos to show teachers and parents how to use SpellingCity.com
Customizable sentences for words with multiple meanings (e.g., a scale for weighing, to scale a mountain, the scale on a map)
Free printable handwriting worksheets for handwriting practice with your saved lists
Free teaching resources with lists and lesson plans for teaching high frequency words, compound words, sound-alike words (their, there, they're), contractions, possessives, and more. There are also lists for learning state capitals.
Twelve games to play online or to print: Spelling, Word Meaning, Vocabulary, Alphabetical Order
A free forum and newsletters with more vocabulary and spelling resources.

I chose to enter some words and take a test. When I deliberately (honest!) misspelled "atturney", the website queried me. You can also add your own sentences with Custom Sentences. The video about this explains it in detail. I really liked the How To videos which are short and clear explanations of how to get the most benefit from the site. Another feature is the literature based word lists. I tried Swiss Family Robinson with a game called Hangmouse.

Learning how to spell words can be such a chore for some kids. I think adding technology in the form of a website like Spelling City might just sweeten the process. Anything that makes learning fun and worthwhile definitely gets the Book Chook Feather of Approval!

Public Domain image Allegory of Teaching circa 1600, from Wikimedia Commons


  1. Dawn Riccardi Morris27 April, 2010

    It sounds like a great all-in-one resource, Susan. Thanks!

  2. Book Chook27 April, 2010

    I think you'll like it, Dawn!

  3. Spelling City is a big hit with my students (parents love it too). It makes spelling practice fun and helps students start to recognize consistency and patterns in spelling.

  4. Book Chook28 April, 2010

    That recognition of patterns is key, especially with visual learners, isn't it, Kelly. I must post some of my own created activities in case people might find them helpful.

  5. Kelly Burstow30 April, 2010

    I've always struggled with spelling. My husband's not real flash either. And now, my daughter is struggling with spelling. I do wonder if there is a genetic factor involved or is it the way we've been taught (or not taught) during the schooling process? Interesting questions.

  6. Book Chook30 April, 2010

    My suspicion is that it is one of those hard to pin down things, Kelly B. Most likely there are hereditary and environmental factors that influence our spelling, but I am coming down more on the side of heredity. Some of us have blue eyes, or can run fast, or can draw pictures that people recognize. I don't have any of those, so naturally, I wish I did!

    Most of us have preferred learning styles, so sometimes tapping into that helps a young learner. I would encourage my students to try different methods to find what worked for them. Sometimes, looking at the shape of the word helps, and we would trace around the letters to make unique boxes for each word. Some kids prefer to recite letters aloud, or sing them. Others need to involve their body and trace large letters perhaps, or re-write words using colours for special chunks. Motivation though is always a huge factor, and I found if I could do anything to make it fun and a little competitive, kids would respond. (Let me know if you need more explanation for any of that.)

  7. Kelly Burstow01 May, 2010

    The interesting thing is, my daughter's vocabulary is astonishing and she's an avid reader (not only my opinion, but the teachers). I'll suggest to her some of the possible ways of learning you've mentioned. It would be nice to see her have some confidence in this area.

    Thanks for the tips.

  8. PlanningQueen02 May, 2010

    I have just checked out Spelling City and think it is a fabulous resource. I have been looking for something like this for a while, so I appreciate you sharing it.

  9. Book Chook02 May, 2010

    I'm so glad it helped, PlanningQueen!


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