Christopher Thorne is so passionate about spelling that he has produced a series of lessons on YouTube emphasizing the relationship between spelling and phonics. His latest creation is a spelling app applying these same phonics principles in a treasure hunt game. He has entitled it “Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook.”
Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook, by Mr. Thorne Productions, has a distinct British influence. The title page looks like an Olde English shoppe, with rustic wood planks, and an old, worn book laying open on it. It is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and designed for children ages five and up. His museum is empty and needs to be filled with artifacts. Your child’s job is to collect treasures to fill the museum by completing spelling quizzes. There are three Spellbooks, each one with a higher level of difficulty. A child must score 10/10 on the quiz in order to earn an artifact.
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F or the sheer number of words to spell, Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook is remarkable. There are more than 100 different quizzes included in the three Spellbooks. The Spellbooks themselves are well organized into units of similar word types. Book One concentrates on single sounds and shorter words. Books Two and Three cover words of increasing difficulty, containing blended sounds, vowel combinations and less common word families. Also included are high frequency words that do not follow traditional spelling rules. Incorrectly spelled words are highlighted at the end, and the correct spelling is shown. When the child successfully completes a quiz, he is able to open the vault and retrieve the treasure, which is then placed in the museum.
Spelling apps are becoming more common as developers find new and different ways to approach spelling mastery. One factor to keep in mind when considering Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook is that the speaker uses a British accent when pronouncing the words. There are distinct differences in the British phonetic alphabet, which may confuse a child unaccustomed to hearing that accent. For example, in Spellbook One, the words sand and send sound very similar. Another potential confusion is with /r/ sounds in the middle and end of words. Sauce may be heard as source in Book Two. Fortunately, many of the words also contain hints-examples using the target word in a sentence for added clarification. Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook offers a unique addition to the market for spelling apps.
Mr. Thorne’s Spellbook is available for download via the iTunes App Store - Universal App
Julie Peterson - I am a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. Teaching children the connection between spelling and phonics is one of my most important roles.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.