I struggled as a child with spelling, it wasn't until a fantastic English teacher in high school introduced me to mnemonics and memorising words with stories that my spelling started to improve. It turns out that my youngest also has the same difficulty and whilst we have been home learning we've tried a few different apps and resources to support her spelling. The one that we have purchase and decided to continue using is Sir Linkalot.
This is not an advert. We love the app and have purchased it ourselves.
I know that we aren't alone in our spelling struggles. In fact, for the last year we've had spelling test stomach aches, head aches, and feeling sick as she struggles so much to achieve marks in the weekly spellings.
For those not in the UK, back in 2014 the government introduces list of words that children within a year group or two should know by the end of those years. They started off as common words which was fantastic but by the end of year 1 the words were abstract and as an adult I wondered where we would ever use them!
Each week, she's had a list of words to learn with similar patterns, we've practiced the words using our spelling wall, tried some of the fantastic spelling activities over on Creative Family Fun, and used the app that the teacher monitors for homework. However, each week she sits the spelling test and scores between 0 and 5 out of 10.
It's caused bullying issues, she lack confidence any time she writes and hates spelling test days the worst. So whilst we learned at home I investigated different apps to support her. Not necessarily with the words that come home each week but with spelling in general.
That's when I discovered Sir Linkalot!
Using the same method that helped me learn to spell this app has animations, quizzes and more. What's even better is we have seen an improvement in her spelling with creative exercises and she's using the correct spellings in her work.
Sir Linkalot App
We signed up for a free trial of the app on our iPad and now have subscribed for a year.
The price for the year is £49.99 but that gives access to all spellings, grammar and punctuation packs.
The information is presented in bite size chunks of 10 - 20 words with fun (and often silly) animated videos where mnemonics are used to help with the spelling of words. See the example of Sausage below.
There's also crosswords, quizzes and even lessons that you can access to support the word lists.
How it works
Spelling works best when done in bitesize chunks. So we use the app at the beginning of the day to revise some spellings for the week.
These are not the ones set by the school, as during home learning we haven't had any, instead, these are words that are used regularly and are also in the word lists from the National Curriculum.
I download the list and make a note of the words myself.
Then each day she spends approximately 5 - 10 minutes watching the videos and completing the extras and quizzes.
We're working through a mix of the homophones and spelling word lists revisiting the word lists from previous weeks and completing our own mini spelling tests at home based on the words to check it's not just visual remembering but also can be applied.
Want to know how it works?
Watch this lesson video by Sir Linkalot where he explains one of the features of linking.
How successful is it?
As I said her success at spelling tests in school has knocked her confidence drastically. But, using the app has been amazing.
She has consistently used the words encountered in the app correctly, not just in terms of spelling them but also in application with the homophones. As she spells them now you can hear her sayings little parts of the linking videos showing that it's gone in and she's using the knowledge in her work.
What we Think!
As you can see it's proven successful here. But, one of the reasons why I wanted to recommend it to you is that unlike a lot of the apps we have tried this actually teaches as well as tests.
Most of the other apps gave the words with no support on memorising or learning and just tested. For some, this is great and it worked really well with my eldest who has never struggled with spellings.
However, for my daughter where spellings are difficult this is ideal it gives her a way to memorise the words easily and in a fun way that she can then be tested on and she's applying in her work.
At the moment the app is linked with British spellings but the roadmap for development shows that at some point they will be releasing a US version of the word lists.
Where to Download
To download the app you get a 7-day free trial and then it's an in-app purchase for a month, 3 months or year.