Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: See-N-Spell


If you have a struggling speller at home, you know how the inability to spell slows down work across all subjects, as well as limits the vocabulary used in written work.  Rather than spending time constantly looking up more difficult words in a dictionary, if one is readily available, students will simply select a more simple word within spelling ability.  The result is written work that is far below the student's spoken vocabulary.

See-N-Spell is a non-intimidating tool, geared toward those in 4th grade through adult, to quickly look up commonly misspelled words and verify the correct usage, making the lack of spelling ability to be less of an inhibitor when writing.


With this guide, students can:

  • Easily find the correct spelling of 300+ commonly used American English words just by knowing the sound of the first letter or first few letters
  • Identify the correct spelling and usage of 'sound-alike' words (homophones)
  • Quickly determine the correct spelling of commonly misspelled words
  • Verify the correct usage of these words
This reference tool is divided into three alphabetized sections:
  • Most Commonly Used Vocabulary Words
  • Commonly Misspelled Words
  • My Special Interest Words
View this sample page to get a feel for the easy layout.

With Spell Check and dictionaries readily available, this guide may seem like an unnecessary tool. However, the idea is to provide an easy and quick reference guide.  Computers are not always accessible, especially with grade school children in the classroom. Thick dictionaries are sometimes intimidating and not always convenient for travel. Spell-N-Check is 40 pages and a standard 8 1/2" x 11" in size. It is thin enough to put in a pocket of a 3-ring binder or to throw in a bag with other books.

The guide does have some downfalls, and those played out in our homeschool.  It only includes 300 words, so it is very likely that a student may not find a particular word.  Since my son is now proficient with a dictionary, he is more apt to reach for that knowing the sought after word will likely be located. He also types a lot of his work, and Spell Check is his best friend (smile). With both of these tools readily available, the reference guide was not utilized much in our home.

However, if there is a word that a student repeatedly uses that is not listed in the reference guide, it can always be added to the Special Interest Words section making this reference tool more personalized. Also, there was a time that using a dictionary was very frustrating and intimidating for my son. I can see how this reference guide would have been more useful several years ago, rather than as a 7th grader. The list of homophones was also a nice addition and I really liked that it included word pairs, such as "advice/advise", "guessed/guest", "pedal/petal", that are more likely to be confused by dyslexics and children with auditory processing issues.

Older ESL students with knowledge of parts of speech but not sure of the English word usage could benefit from the way the words are categorized. See-N-Spell might also be a helpful tool to younger students (say 2nd or 3rd grade) who are strong writers with an advanced vocabulary, but find a thick dictionary overwhelming simply from a developmental standpoint.  The portability of the guide makes it a handy tool for anyone that struggles with spelling, but does not always have access to a dictionary or computer.  Holes to place the guide in a 3-ring binder with other schoolwork would be a great addition.

Each See-N-Spell guide also comes with a free See-N-Read Reading Tool.  A review and some research behind it can be explored by reading a previous review found here.

See-N-Spell is available for $9.99 at the See-N-Read website.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I have received no other compensation. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool. You may read more reviews on this product by visiting here.

1 comment:

Diane Allen said...

This sounds like just the thing! I made a highlighted and marked up list in my college dictionary - way back before spell check.