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.
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.
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.
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.
Simplex Spelling Phonics 3
by Pyxwise Software Inc.
Price: $4.99 USD
Simplex Spelling is one of the best ways to improve English spelling and reading skills. Using a powerful combination of phonics lessons, spelling/word patterns, syllabication, our unique “reverse phonics.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).