Spellyfish Short A Words by Pyxwise Software -Review


What we love…

Reverse phonics system, bright engaging fun graphics, variable hint system, customizable

What we’d love to see…

More apps in the series


A great app for beginning readers. Spellyfish introduces children to spelling and reading 30 cvc words such as cat, rag, Sam, pat and van, in a fun engaging app.

Our Rating

Spellyfish - Short A WordsSpellyfish Short A Words is a universal app by Pyxwise Software, the developers of the Simplex Spelling apps. Spellyfish is designed for 4-6 year-old children, and is aligned with US Kindergarten Common Core Standards. It works on consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words that contain the short /a/ sound.  It has a lot of customization options including:  qwerty or ABC keyboard, upper or lowercase letters, show or hide scores, phonics or letter names, how many correct attempts for a word to be “mastered’ (1-10),  sound effect volume and narration volume.

Spellyfish has many characteristics in common with the Simplex Spelling apps but has a fun underwater theme and appealing graphics to suit its younger target audience. Spellyfish the jellyfish is the child’s guide through the app, first he takes them through an introductory lesson where they learn how to use the app and practice how to answer questions and get hints. As well as the introductory lesson the app contains 6 regular lessons and 2 review lessons. Each of the 6 lessons contains 5 three-letter words based on a common theme e.g. ending with _ag or starting with s__. The review lessons contain six words each, and consist of a mixture of words from the previous lessons.

As the lesson starts Spellyfish explains what theme of the lesson will be, then swims along the seafloor to his underwater spelling spot. For each word Spellyfish says the word on its own and in a sentence, and a picture illustrating the word appears in a thought bubble beside him.

iPhone Screenshot 1Spellyfish swims beside a board containing 3 red seashells, as the child types the letters they appear on the board and the shells change color to indicate if they are right or wrong. Red shells indicate a letter not in that word, green shells show a correct letter and blue shells indicate a letter than is in the wrong place. The child can drag the blue letters into the right spot and remove red letters with the backspace key.

If the child touches the thought bubble Spellyfish will say the word and sentence again. If they need hints touching the yellow starfish will make red starfishes appear under each shell the child can just touch the starfish to get hints for that letters they need help with e.g. JAM the possibilities for the first letter are J, G, DGE. Once the child has successfully spelled the word Spellyfish sounds it out and repeats the word.

iPhone Screenshot 4

Parents and teachers can keep track of how their children are doing – for each word list they can see which words have been mastered, or by sliding a switch see how many times they have attempted each word and how many times it has been correct. The app allows up to 40 user accounts and results can be emailed.

iPhone Screenshot 5

Spellyfish works on important pre-reading skills- phonological and phonemic awareness, sound blending, rhyming, recognizing lower and uppercase letters as well as keyboard skills. As well as being suitable for Kindergarten students; the audio and visual cues, large keyboard (with vowels color-coded) and variable hint system make it a great app for Special Needs children. I have been using this app with my six-year-old daughter who is just starting first grade (but still working on mastering these words) and she really enjoys using it to work on her spelling and reading skills. As she has been struggling with learning to read it was really reassuring to see her confidently sounding out words and working out how to spell them with Spellyfish as her guide. This is a really well-done app and I’d love to see more apps in this series covering more word groups for beginning readers. The one thing that would be nice to see added is a reward system to keep the young children coming back to practice, maybe collecting underwater themed stickers.

Overall, a great app for beginning readers, Spellyfish has a cute underwater theme, fun sound effects and engaging characters. It introduces children to spelling and reading 30 cvc words such as cat, rag, Sam, pat and van. It is  very customizable, tracks multiple users, is great for Special Needs children and costs only 99c, highly recommended ! A must-have app for Kindergarten students.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaKBbsOEiC0&feature=youtu.be’]

know what inside– Does not share any data.
– Does not track your child’s location.
– Does not contain In-App purchases.
– Does not contain links to social media.
– Does not contain push notifications.
– Contains in app links to view a safe enclosed version of the developer’s website for additional information, support and teaching tips.
– Contains child protected links that allow you to : “email the developer questions” and to rate the app.


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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Price: $4.99 USD

A comprehensive and fun space-themed math learning and skill app for kids and teachers!
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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).

Simplex Spelling HD Finalist in the 2011 Best App Ever Awards – News

Simplex Spelling HD - English Reverse Phonics[prMac.com] Edmonton, Canada – Pyxwise Software is pleased to announce that Simplex Spelling HD is a top 10 finalist in the 2011 Best App Ever Awards in the category of “Best Special Needs App”. More than 7000 applications were submitted and over a quarter million nominations were placed by users of the site. The purpose of the Best App Ever Awards is to raise user awareness about the best apps available, not just the top selling titles.

Simplex Spelling HD has been well received by teachers, parents, homeschooling parents and the media for teaching students to spell and read. Over a thousand copies of Simplex Spelling have been purchased by educational institutions for use in the classroom, and Simplex Spelling has had an overwhelmingly positive response from teachers and parents of students with special needs. Becoming a finalist in the “Best Special Needs App” category illustrates how much of a positive impact Simplex Spelling is having in the lives of all children.

Simplex Spelling HD takes a full phonics based approach to teaching the Dolch sight words, so that students don’t just memorize the most common words in English, but they actually learn “how to spell” these words. A recent 10 year extensive study into dyslexia using MRI scans of the brain has shown that in effective readers the brain reads by processing sounds, while those with dyslexia have difficulty accessing the sound processing areas of the brain during reading. The audio, visual, and tactile components of Simplex Spelling are combined to effectively teach phonemic awareness, thus encouraging the phonological processing of sounds.

Dr. Lisa Welburn states “We are honored that our spelling applications are helping so many struggling students to become better at spelling and reading the English language.”

Pyxwise Software is also excited to announce the imminent release of an update to Simplex Spelling HD that will add additional spelling words and spelling rules to aid students with both decoding and encoding the English language.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4/4S, 3/4G iPod touch and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* Universal Application
* 36.4 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Simplex Spelling HD 1.5.0 is $4.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) – available worldwide exclusively on the App Store in the Education category by searching for ‘Simplex Spelling HD’. Review copies are available upon request. Please indicate the website, blog or educational institution being represented.

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Simplex Spelling HD 1.5.0
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Pyxwise Software Inc. is an award winning independent developer of family friendly games and educational software. It was co-founded by Craig Welburn B.A.Sc, B.Sc. and Lisa Welburn Ph.D. in 2011. The Pyxwise series of applications includes the award winning Simplex Spelling HD and Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 along with Simplex Spelling Free Lite. These can be found on the App Store worldwide by searching for ‘Pyxwise Software Inc.’. Copyright (C) 2012 Pyxwise Software Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are registered trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Pyxwise Software announces the launch of Simplex Spelling Phonics 1

20111212-202059.jpg[7thspace.com] Pyxwise Software is pleased to announce that Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 made its debut on the App Store just days ago. It has already won an educational award, and it has been featured by Apple as “New & Noteworthy” in multiple countries. Apps For Homeschooling has awarded its coveted “Golden App Award” to Simplex Spelling Phonics 1. Jennifer Bogart states, “An app that has received a Golden App Award has achieved a high standard of excellence in developing educationally sound, professionally designed apps of true use to homeschooling families.”

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 teaches a full year of spelling curriculum and features over 450 high frequency spelling words to help build literacy. It provides 42 instructional lessons in phonics and spelling rules. Each lesson builds upon the skills learned in previous lessons, and students piece their spelling words together in a fun and interactive way. Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 uses Pyxwise’s unique “reverse phonics” approach that acts like a personal spelling coach and guarantees success on every spelling word.

Spelling patterns and a wealth of spelling knowledge are contained within a beautifully simplistic interface. The powerful hint system phonetically sounds out each word while letting the student see all of the possible ways that a word can be spelled phonetically. Each word can be pieced together from its smallest or simplex sounds, and spelling hints and rules are provided to students in context and only as they are needed. Children can easily pick up and use Simplex Spelling as the introductory spelling list contains spoken instructions that gently guide the child through the app’s entire feature set.

Many studies have shown that phonics is a more effective means of teaching spelling and reading than using flash cards and the whole word approach. A Scottish study on phonics followed students for 7 years and showed that students who learned their literacy skills with a full synthetic phonics approach were on average 3.5 years ahead of the rest of the population in their word reading skills. Hence, in recent years the UK government has changed their country’s entire educational system over to a full synthetic phonics approach.

Simplex Spelling takes phonics education to a new level by combining effective phonics lessons with Pyxwise’s unique reverse phonics approach. This comprehensive phonics program is combined with contextually relevant spelling rules and reminders to teach students “How to Spell” English words. Studies have shown that not all good readers are good spellers, but good spellers invariably make good readers. Pyxwise is devoted to making high quality educational applications. “We are honored to be making such a positive impact in the lives of so many children that are struggling to read and spell English words,” offered Dr. Lisa Welburn.

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 follows the original Simplex Spelling HD which is an award winning spelling application that has been critically acclaimed by educators, homeschoolers, parents and the media. Andrea Gardner from Applicable2U stated “Applicable2U has explored a number of spelling applications, and this is the best one yet.” Andrea has been an elementary and middle school teacher for many years with very impressive credentials that include a focus on integrating technology into classrooms. Andrea went on to say the following about Simplex Spelling HD “the academic results that you will see in your student or child will be amazing.”

Educational institutions have been purchasing hundreds of copies of Simplex Spelling HD for use in the classroom, and it has been getting great results in helping kids with special needs. Simplex Spelling HD has also been a popular choice with students that are learning English as a second language.

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 builds upon all of the great features from Simplex Spelling HD with 42 new instructional lessons, additional spelling hints and tips, and choices for US, UK, and Canadian spelling. More information is available on the Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 product website.

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 is available for the low introductory price of $0.99 (regularly $4.99). Available worldwide exclusively on the App Store in the Education category by searching for ‘Simplex Spelling Phonics 1’. Review copies are available upon request.


Pyxwise Software Inc. is an award winning independent developer of family friendly games and educational software. It was co-founded by Craig Welburn B.A.Sc, B.Sc. and Lisa Welburn Ph.D. in 2011. The Pyxwise series of applications can be found on the App Store worldwide by searching for ‘Pyxwise Software Inc.’. Copyright (C) 2011 Pyxwise Software Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are registered trademarks of Apple Inc ., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

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