- Publication date
- CC0 1.0 Universal
- Color Computer Magazine
(From Color Computer Magazine, April 1983.)
Interface your Color Computer with your child's spelling problems
and improve grades.
by Lynn Davis
I hated the weekly spelling tests in elementary school. I could never
figure out how to learn all those words.
I tried writing each one 10 times. When that didn't work I tried
writing each word 100 times. All that did was waste 10 times the
Later, much later (too much later), I figured out what I was doing
wrong. I wasn't thinking about what I was doing. The boring
repetition of copying a word 100 times led to inventing games out of
the task: how many words could I fit on a line, or, could I break my
all-time speed records of 100 words in three minutes and 32 seconds?
Sure I could, but I still got the words wrong on the test.
Out of these memories of learning to spell came the idea for this
program. CC Speller presents a structured way to learn to spell. It
uses color, movement, and sound to keep student interest high. It
keeps a running tally for students to mark their progress. Creating a
spelling list is easy. CC Speller can be tailored to any student's
Learning To Spell
This is not a flash card approach to short-term memorization of
spelling words. The program is a series of five different activities
to help kids (or adults) learn how to spell. It gently forces
students to concentrate on the words to learn.
For a student to use this program successfully, he must understand the
idea of breaking words into syllables. This skill is taught in the
third grade, so this program will benefit anyone eight years old and
The Five Activities
In the first active, the student sees a list of 14 words. The student
chooses the five words that are the same. This word will be used in
all five activities. After the student completes all five, the
program focuses on another words from the original list, and uses it
through the five lessons. This continues until all the words on the
list have been used.
Activity one is an easy lesson. Most students should quickly succeed
and gain confidence to continue. Each time the student choose an
answer, the program reconstructs the screen and indicates whether the
responses were right or wrong. This way the student gets a constant
update on his progress as well as a reminder of the answers he has
already used. This feature is also used in the next activity.
Activity two presents the student with another 14-word list. This
time the word from the previous lesson is spelled correctly five times
and incorrectly nine times. The student choose the five correct
In activity three, the student sounds out the words to determine the
number of syllables. Next, he types in the word, using a slash to
indicate the syllables in the word. The object is to get the student
to break the word into smaller, easier to learn sections.
The last activity asks the student to type in the word, spelling it
correctly. The point of the program is to prove to the student that,
given a systematic approach, he can learn to spell.
The file holds a maximum of 20 words, with a minimum of 10 words in
the file. Your child does not have to learn all 10 words.
If the child's list is onlty seven words long, enter three extra words
and tell your child to stop working after the seventh word. Or use
three additional words from a previous lesson -- a little extra review
never hurt anyone.
The maximum word length is 13 letters. When you initially enter the
words, use slashes to show the syllable breaks (i.e. ad/ver/tise).
The program does the rest. The computer stores what you enter,
removes the slashes and stores the word spelled correctly. The
program also counts the number of syllables in the word.
After typing the word list (or loading a previously saved file of
words), you can do any or all of the following:
* Option 1 prints the words on the screen. This allows you to check
for errors and see in what order the words will be presented to your
child. The words will be shown in the order you typed them unless
you choose option 2 or 3.
* Option 2 lets you add or delete words from your list. If you delete
a word, all words following the deleted word will move up one
position. If you add a word, it will be added to the bottom of the
* Option 3. Computer selected random order of words. If your child
will work on these words more than once, use this feature to
scramble the order of words.
* Use option 4 when you have all the words ready. You can then save
the lesson on tape or begin the lesson.
Help your child with the mechanics of the activities the first couple
of times to make sure he knows how to enter the responses.
Have the child inform you when he has completed the lesson. Go over
the Progress Report together and offer a compliment or a brief
discussion of the words that gave him trouble.
Realize that this spelling program is not designed for everyone.
There are some children who know how to study spelling words and
already do well on the tests. There are other kids who will need more
help than this program offers.
If the program doesn't seem to be helping, ask your child's teacher
for some suggestions. They will be glad to offer techniques for you
You should reale that your child can outgrow the program. If your
child tells you he doesn't need the computer to help him with his
spelling, or that he would rather do it himself, that's great.
Remember that one of the goals of education is to teach your children
how to learn.
Unless your child volunteers for more, I suggest not using this
program more than once or twice a week. It shouldn't become a dreaded
nightly chore or punishment. It should be a tool for helping the
child to become a better speller.
This program not only helps kids learn to spell, it also teaches them
a study technique they can use throughout life.
The program demonstrates some of the educational potential the
computer has. While most parents and teachers don't have the stamina
to produce and correct by hand all the activities in this program, the
computer does them in an instant. It takes only a few minutes to
input the words and get the activities running, making this program a
worthwhile tool for anyone working with children.
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