The goal of each activity is to assemble (“spell” or “write”) the target word in the card slots using some of the letter cards.
The letter card can be dragged using simple gestures. Once the dragged card is near the appropriate slot the application places the card in the slot.
Application settings (sound cues, response to shake motion, practice or test mode, level, letter case, and background), help and contact form are available via the Settings reachable through PRESS&HOLD button. An additional feature is a selection of different background pictures.
- LEARN Mode offers children to practice spelling by relying on both audio and visual prompts.
- PRACTICE Mode helps children learn by testing their knowledge in spelling words relying only on the audio prompt. The trick here is to “write” a word without a visual prompt. The child listens to the audio prompt to make the word. The audio prompt can be heard as many times as needed by tapping the field with question marks.
- TEST Mode focuses on testing children’s accuracy providing them with SCORE. Children have to rely only on the audio prompt. The trick here is to “write” a word without a visual prompt. The child listens to the audio prompt to make the word. The audio prompt can be heard as many times as needed by tapping the field with question marks. You may choose the number of words to be tested and scored in the SETTINGS: 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 words. If a wrong letter was dragged to the slot, you may UNDO the move by tapping the Undo button in the upper left corner of the screen.
You may choose any spelling list, including custom spelling list, to use in any of the modes.
Build A Word offers a number of Built-In Lists of Spelling Words and any number of Custom Spelling Word Lists.
Built-In Spelling Lists
There are 35 built-in spelling-word lists to choose from. The lists are categorized based on:
- Phonemic features of vowels – short, long (a, e, u, o, i)
- Some Word families like –ck words or tr-,dr- words; sh, ch words; words with double consonants, …
- Number of letters in a word: 1-3, and 4-5 letter words
- All words (some 800 words)
Suggested spelling lists for your students could be based on word families such as:
- ‘ack’ words: attack, back, black, crack, …
- ‘ad’ words: ad, bad, brad, …
- ‘age’ words: age, cage, rage, …
- ‘all’ words: all, ball, call, fall, gall, …
- ‘ash’ words: ash, bash, cash, clash, …
- ‘at’ words: at, bat, brat, cat, fat, …
- ‘ent’ words: accent, bent, spent, …
- ‘ice’ words: dice, ice, mice, price, …
- ‘ight’ words: bright, delight, sight, …
- ‘oat’ words: boat, coat, float, goat, …
- ‘og’ words: blog, bog, clog, jog, …
- ‘ore’ words: bore, chore, core, store, …
- ‘ug’ words: bug, dug, hug, jug, lug, mug, …
- ‘own’ words: brown, crown, gown, …
Custom Spelling Lists
Upon downloading an app one custom spelling list is already created as an example what a custom spelling list might look like. This exemplary spelling list can be customized (words deleted, added), it can also be renamed.
To create a new spelling list:
- Tap and hold Press&Hold Button in the upper right corner of the screen. The SETTINGS will appear
- Tap ‘Tap to select or create active list’ under ‘Word Settings’ section
- Tap ‘+’ in the upper right section of the screen
- Select words for your spelling list by tapping a word to add it to the spelling list. A list must have at least one word before it can be made active.
- To create a certain word-family spelling list, in the Search query (top of the list) type for example only ck or sh and all the words with this consonant cluster will appear
- Before tapping DONE, tap RENAME to name your spelling list.
- Enter spelling list name in the box, e.g. John ‘at’ words
- Tap UPDATE when done.
- Tap DONE when done selecting words in the spelling list
To add/ remove words to/from your spelling list, tap the arrow next to the spelling list name. On the bottom of your screen choose Active Words if you wish to remove some words. Or choose Inactive Words if you wish to add words. You add or remove a word by tapping it and the check mark will appear next to the word or disappear in case of removal. A list must have at least one word before it can be made active.
Choose a child (female) voice or adult (female) voice to listen to narration. To make the choice, go to SETTINGS (Press&Hold), and tap ‘Tap to select narration voice’.
It is possible to choose between upper and lower case letters. By swiping LOWER CASE button to ON or OFF, you change the letter case in the app.
Letters may be displayed in color. By swiping ‘Color-coded letters’ button in SETTINGS to ON, you may see the vowels in red and consonants in blue color.
Incorrect letters can be narrated – name of each letter will be heard upon tapping. If you swipe this feature to OFF, the incorrect letters will not be narrated and only a short sound will be heard upon tapping.
To spell each word a child is given cards with letters. Some letters may be redundant. You may choose the number of redundant letters in the SETTINGS under ‘‘Number of additional letters’ by tapping: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
High Contrast Interface
For visually impaired high contrast interface makes the objects on the screen more visible. To turn it on SWIPE ‘High Contrast Interface” to ON.
For visually impaired and those struggling with fine motor skills there is an option to choose the most suitable COMPLETION METHOD:
- Tap – merely tap the card with the chosen letter and the card will automatically move on its own to the first available word slot
- Drag&Hover – drag the card with the chosen letter over the word slot to place it
- Drag&Drop – drag the card and release it over the word slot to place it
Number of Words in Test Mode
The number of words to be tested in the TEST Mode may be 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25. To choose which number of words your child should be tested, go to SETTINGS and tap ‘Test Question Count’. Tap the number that suits your needs.
To keep the children’s attention longer on the words, each successfully “written” word is followed by a game of popping balloons with dinosaurs inside. The child is drawn into the world of dinosaurs. The task is to save the dinosaurs captured and taken up into the sky in magical balloons. By popping the balloons the child enables the ancient creatures to use their parachutes and land safely. The number of balloons coincides with the number of letters of the “written” word.
This mini game reward feature can be turned OFF in the SETTINGS.
Timing and Scoring in Results
Scores for TEST Mode are recorded and can be seen in History. The History offers the following information:
- Date and time
- Number of correctly spelled words vs. number of incorrectly spelled words (Correct/Incorrect)
- The spelling list used in the game
- Test Summary – by tapping the history of a certain score a full Quiz Summary is unfolded
By shaking your device you may start a new word. You may turn OFF this option in the SETTINGS.
You may choose a background in the SETTINGS.
You may turn the sound OFF.