Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Personalized Spelling and Vocabulary Tutor

Personalized Spelling and Vocabulary Tutor

Spring 2006 Website
Ages: 7 & Up
After watching the documentary Spellbound, I realized how many kids aspire to be the National Spelling Bee champ. If that’s in your child’s dreams, this site is the Olympic coach. If your child (or you) want to be a good speller, this is a spelling universe and as close to a real-live competitive spelling bee as many of us will ever get. The site, developed by a 501(c)3 non-profit parent initiative, claims to be better than any other tutor, of course, but, let’s face it, spelling quizzes are repetitive.

An annual membership of $99.80 ($79.80 for a self-renewing membership) can kick off with a free 10-day trial. Sign up and your child (or you—the site caters to those in elementary school up to a Ph.D. level) can immediately begin taking endless spelling quizzes and building a powerhouse vocabulary. At sign up, you’ll need to indicate the speller’s goal in using the site—from strengthening spelling skills to winning the spelling bee (yes, they mean the Scripps National Spelling Bee). There are also goal options for non-native speakers, SAT test prep, and college/GRE preparation.

The quizzes (from 15 to 500 words at a time, your choice) provide an audio pronunciation of the word to be spelled, as well as a written definition and example of how it is used in a sentence. Congratulatory sounds go off for each spelled correctly. Next to each word, links for Merriam Webster and several other sites for more info on the word and its etymology. Those who have specific words to work on can add them for priority study.

The site tour includes words like “kinesthetic” “white paper,” which may not capture an 8-year-old on the first try. So set up the trial for your child first.

Robin Raskin   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Robin Raskin, the former Editor in Chief of FamilyPC, is an Internet safety authority and a writer who speaks to parents and teachers across the country about raising digital kids. Her newest book, A Parent’s Guide to College Life is published Random House. Visit Mrs. Raskin's website at: Robin Raskin

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