Rating: 4 out of 5 stars App Developer: Merge Mobile Inc.
With its well-designed, colourful layout, this iPad app is so simple that kids as young as 4 or 5 can immediately begin playing and learning with no adult involvement. Learning happens in the form of a game in which kids are shown a picture, and shown the letters in a jumbled order. They must then spell the word either by dragging and dropping the letters, or typing them using a keyboard. The app also provides auditory reinforcement by allowing kids to hear the word being spelled. After every few words spelled correctly, kids can choose from a host of prizes to add to a fish tank, which is initially bare, but slowly becomes active and vibrant with magnificent animations. Created by Merge Mobile, this is definitely one of the best iPad apps that teaches spelling.
The app includes over 75 words. These words are divided into 2 lists called: Freefall Numbers and Freefall Words. A third list, called My Words can be edited by typing a new word, recording it, and adding a photograph. Kids can therefore add as many words as they like to the list. They can also add other new lists, and arrange their words in different themes or categories. Kids who are beginner spellers can choose to see hints, whilst more advanced kids can play without hints being provided. The music can be turned on or off, and letters can be shown in lower or upper case. Kids can choose to use the Type Mode, which allows them to type using a Qwerty or Alpha keyboard; the Freefall Mode, which shows the letters falling to the bottom of the screen at differing speeds; or the Word Scramble Mode, which presents the kids with the letters on key cards. While playing, kids can go back to words or skip words, and also hear the word at any time by tapping the little sound icon. The home screen allows users to check out other products available from Merge Mobile; play the game; change the settings; or check out the fish tank The fish tank is a game in itself. Kids can fiddle with the lighting, clean it, feed the fish, and move the prizes around.
Colourful, user-friendly, and highly interactive, Freefall Spelling is a fantastic tool to assist in teaching children to spell. Kids from as young as 4 or 5 can learn to recognize the letters by playing the game using the hints. Older kids can challenge themselves by adding words they are learning at school, and playing the game without the hints. Besides teaching spelling, this iPad app also helps to develop fine-motor co-ordination, and teaches kids how to use the keyboard and sort and organize information. Definitely a worthwhile app.