Tricky Spelling is a circus themed spelling app that focuses on all of those words in the English language that follow no rules. Think: "i before e, except after c, and in cases of neighbor and weigh"...and science...and weird...and their, etc. English is a tough language to spell, and this app is hoping to make it just a little bit easier.
With three levels of practice, and a ton of words, Tricky Spelling by Chris Hordern is a good app for any student who is struggling with uncommon spelling words. The app has three extensive groups of words to practice: long sounds, homophones, and word endings. Each category has at least ten words lists, each with eight words in the list. The words are organized from easier to harder, with some of the words in the harder lists being appropriate for middle school aged students.
Students choose which category they want to practice, then they choose the word list they want to practice. The word lists are labeled and organized, making it easy to find the spelling blend in need of practice. For example, the word ending lists are sorted into groups like er/or and le/el on the easier side or ence/ense and us/ous on the harder end. The long sounds lists have groups like ee/ea on the easy end and oy/oi on the hard end. The ten homophones lists are sorted by familiarity. Words on the first list are easy pairs like son/sun and on the later lists words like skull/scull and check/cheque.
Game-play is relatively simple. After choosing a list, a sentence with missing words appears and is narrated. If students attempt to use the wrong letters, the letters turn red and are returned to the bottom of the screen. Each list has eight words and eight sentences to complete.
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I really like that this app focuses on the uncommon spelling blends that really trick kids. The spelling lists are extensive and well thought out. With the range of words available, children from second to seventh grade will find this app useful. I appreciate that the app is organized from easy word lists to harder word lists. I also like that the sentences are narrated. This makes the focus of the app on spelling, not on whether or not the student can read the sentence. The only thing that would make this better would be some sort of data collection. I'd love to see a summary of progress for successful attempts at the word lists.
Overall, Tricky Spelling is an app perfect for students struggling with advanced spelling words. Children can find lists appropriate for whatever level of practice is needed. An added benefit is the great exposure to some upper level vocabulary words.
At the time of this review, this app has no external links, in-app purchases, or ads.
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.