What we love…

Where the Simplex Spelling apps excel is teaching your child how to spell, and this app moves on from the basics taught in the previous apps in the series, to teaching quite complicated phonemes.

What we’d love to see…

Ability to create your own test lists from mastered words.

Summary

If you are looking for a series of apps that actually teaches your child how to spell (rather than just memorizing spelling lists) you can’t go wrong with the Simplex Spelling series. If you have a child in 3rd grade up ready to tackle more complex spelling rules then this is a must have app.

Our Rating

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Simplex Spelling Phonics- Advanced Phonograms is the fourth universal app in the series of Simplex Spelling apps  from Pyxwise Software, an independent developer and member of Moms With Apps. The iMums previously reviewed Simplex Spelling HD (Sight Words) and Simplex Spelling Phonics and you can read our review here. The app contains no adverts, in-app purchases or social media links.

This app is the most advanced in the series so far and is aimed at students aged 9 years+. The apps are based on a system of “reverse phonics” and are designed to teach the fundamentals of spelling in English. The apps have the option of using American, Canadian or British spelling. You also have the option to choose between upper and lowercase letters and you can use the keypad in ABC format or QWERTY.

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The app supports multiple student profiles so you first start by creating a profile, next you go to an introductory lesson. This explains how the app works, and lets you practice by spelling words used in the introduction e.g. button, chosen, correctly and lesson. It is a very similar format to the previous Simplex Spelling apps but also uses the concept of syllables, and each spelling word is broken down into syllables separated by a white dot.

Simplex Spelling Phonics Advanced  features over 750 high frequency spelling words divided into 52 word lists. You can see the words that are included by visiting the developers website. Each word list is a lesson working on a particular topic such as a a certain  phoneme e.g. Short o (aw) as in saw, sawdust, jigsaw, drawback; or a type of word e.g. contractions such as can’t, won’t or o’clock; or a type of noun such as place nouns  e.g. America, Canada, Scotland. The lessons covered in this app do not overlap with those in Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 or 2, but rather build on the skills learned there.

When working on spelling a word, the word is spoken individually, then said in a sentence, this is especially helpful in this app as it includes many words that have a less familiar spelling than similar sounding words e.g. floe (as in ice floe). Blank red tiles appear for each letter in the word, you can type on the keyboard to insert them, or drag and drop. If you choose the right letter the tile turns green, if you put a letter in the wrong position it will turn blue, and a letter that isn’t in the word at all stays red. If you touch the hint button, the word will be sounded out phonetically, and white stars appear under each tile space. Tapping on the white star will reveal a drop down list of letter combinations that can make that sound. The possible letter combinations will appear in purple, and there are others in the list in grey. The grey ones either have the wrong number of letters for that spot or break a spelling rule e.g. for the last 2 lettersof floe “oa” appears in grey, because although it can make that sound, it doesn’t usually occur at the end of a word in English. (Tapping on it will tell you this, and mentions words e.g. cocoa that are an exception to the rule.) At the end of the list it will tell the student how many words they got correct (this can be switched off in settings). Within each lesson you can touch on the teacher icon to hear again what the lesson is you are working on, or touch the speech bubble to hear the word spoken again individually and in a sentence, or on the red tiles icon to just hear the individual word repeated.

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The app tracks detailed data from multiple users. In the settings for each user you can decide how many times they need to spell a word correctly to have “mastered” it – anywhere from 1-10 times. You can click on the graph icon to see which words the student has mastered, how many times they have attempted a word, and how many correct attempts they have made. You can view the word lists from within the app – there is a master list of lessons, tapping on the eye icon of it shows you the words contained in that lesson. This app has a huge amount of material in it, and covers a whole year of spelling lessons. As well as working on phonics, it also covers syllables, spelling rules, contractions and the capitalization of proper nouns. It is useful in the classroom as well as the home setting as it supports up to 40 student profiles.

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 The one improvement I would suggest for a future update is the ability to create custom lists by generating spelling lists from the mastered words lists. There were times watching my son using the app that I thought he was “cheating” by using the sound combination he knew the lesson was teaching, by using  say “oe” whenever there was an “o” sound in the “oe” list, I’d love the ability to test if he really knows it by presenting the same word (that he has already “mastered”) out of context.

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 The Simplex Spelling apps do not have the option of entering your own word lists, so it is worthwhile going to the developers website and viewing the word lists contained within each app to see if they are at the right level for your child. Where the Simplex Spelling apps excel is teaching your child how to spell, and this app moves on from the basics taught in the previous apps in the series, to teaching quite complicated phonemes. I really like how individualized the hint system is. The app does not have any built-in reward system (except for success words such as awesome or phenomenal when they get the spelling correct), I asked my 9 year-old son how he felt about that and his verdict was that you don’t really need it at his age. If you are looking for a series of apps that actually teaches your child how to spell (rather than just memorizing spelling lists) you can’t go wrong with the Simplex Spelling series. If you have a child in 3rd grade up ready to tackle more complex spelling rules then this is a must have app.

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Simplex Spelling Phonics – Advanced Phonograms – Pyxwise Software Inc.

mzl.wmlvtrey Simplex Spelling Phonics  Advanced Phonograms by Pyxwise  Review
Simplex Spelling Phonics - Advanced Phonograms
by Pyxwise Software Inc.

Category: Education, Games, Educational, Word
Requirements: Compatible with iPadMini, iPhone4S, iPadFourthGen, iPadThirdGen, iPhone5c, iPhone5, iPad WiFi, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch (3. Gen.), iPodTouchFifthGen, iPhone 4, iPhone5s, iPad 2 3G, iPadFourthGen4G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPod Touch (4. Gen.), iPadThirdGen4G, iPadMini4G, iPad 3G
Size: 123.21 MB

$4.99USD

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Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: 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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