Reviewed by Mary
Squeebles: Spelling Words by Key Stage Fun is a universal app and part of a series of educational apps from British developer Key Stage Fun. I own a lot of spelling apps and I wondered what Squeebles could possibly bring to the table that was different from the myraid of other spelling apps in the app store, but they have managed to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Squeebles is very much a “do it yourself” spelling app – it does not come with any spelling lists included, but rather you create all your own lists. When you enter the app the first thing you have to do is set up player profiles . You set up a profile for each child, then for that child choose upper or lowercase keyboard, UK or US English and how long the word should remain on the screen – not at all, 2 sec, 5 sec or as long as they wish. Next you visit the parent area– this is where you can add and edit spelling lists, edit words, change player settings and assign lists to different players. The next step is to set up spelling tests – you can choose which players each list is for, then type in the words one at a time and record the audio for them. You can playback and re-record the audio on any you are not happy with. If a new player is added later, you can use any of your saved tests for them too.
Once the tests are set up it’s time to play. Each player can choose from three test types: 1) My tests-choose one of their named tests. 2) Random – words chosen at random from all their tests. or 3) Tricky words- ones they have got wrong on previous tests. They are then given written instructions on how to proceed before starting the test. The word appears on the screen with a countdown to when it will disappear, and the word is spoken. They can also press a button to hear it again. The child then types the word (using a qwerty keyboard) and presses OK when they are done. If they get the word wrong they see a red X and a message – “good try but it’s actually spelt…..” then they move on to the next word, if it’s right a green check appears and “well done you got that one right”. The child earns stars for getting questions right, and bonuses- power ups for getting 3, 5 or 10 words right in a row. After completing a test they can play “Squeeberang”. This is a game where they have a Squeeberang (fancy boomerang) and a Squeeble (a cute little monster) sits on the Squeeberang. The aim of the game is to throw the Squeeble on his Squeeberang http://redeem-now.com/9b472d955150 as far as they can. Doing spelling tests earns them throws at Squeeberang, and the stars they earn for correct answers can be traded in to buy more Squeeberangs and Squeebles to choose from. Not only do they all look different, but they throw differently too and some combinations fly better than others. The power ups can also be used to boost the throw in different ways. The game keeps track of the child’s highest score. Statistics on number of questions right, % right and squeebles, squeeberangs, stars and bonuses earned. You can also view the child’s current ” Tricky words” list and see how they mis-spelled the words. There are 100 Squeeberangs and 15 Squeebles they can buy so it will keep them coming back for new ones for a long time.
The app contains no social media links, app store links, adverts or in-app purchases. There are a couple of things I would like to see in a future update: 1) Verbal directions as well as the written ones and 2) Choice of an ABC keyboard (easier for younger children) as well as the Qwerty keyboard. I have mentioned these to the developer and he plans to add them in a future update.
I have used this app in two ways, firstly with my eight-year-old son who gets spelling lists as homework every week, with this app I can easily enter all his spelling words each week. I have also used it with my five-year-old daughter, who is on the cusp of learning to read- she loves to learn simple words and I can customize lists based on books we are reading together. They both really enjoyed using the app, competing to see how far they could throw the Squeeberang and collecting Squeeberangs and Squeebles. I like how flexible the app is – I can customise it and use for for multiple children who are at different levels, add new lists whenever I like, and even include words with unusual pronunciations or in a different language. However, the thing that really makes Squeebles stand out from the crowd is that it is really engaging and motivating. The game is fun, and my children enjoy trying to earn stars to get more Squeeberangs and Squeebles. Any app that can get children actually wanting to practice their spelling is a winner in my book- highly recommended!! At only $1.99 it is a must have app, and I look forward to checking out the other apps in the Squeebles range.
If you like this app you may also want to check out our review of Squeebles Fractions.
Squeebles Spelling Test
Category: Education, Educational, Games, Kids
Requirements: Compatible with all
Size: 9.94 MB
A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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