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BETTER SPELLING

School Software £22.95

As the education market starts to expand, CU takes a look at the best titles currently available. American primary school teacher, Chris Kennedy, and his English counterpart, Helen Reidy, are our guides.

F Better spelling or those of us who cannot spell if their life depended on it, School Software have come out with Better Spelling, a program to help with spelling and word recognition for people aged eight to adult.

Better Spelling is indeed chock full of words for any budding copy editor to practice. The ‘spelling’ part of the program can be attempted at either a beginner or advanced level and the words are divided into four groups of words with no apparent categorisation.

At its simplest, words such as ‘job’, ‘in’, ‘get’, and ‘five’ are flashed on screen for anything from 1 to 9 seconds before the user is asked to spell the word. If the user is slick enough to spell the word correctly, the computer will tick off appoint for you on its ‘video blackboard’. But woe to the user who continues to misspell again and again, for the all-knowing computer will speak in its stern, synthesised voice and tell you ‘wrong, wrong, wrong’. Should the undaunted user continue to misspell, the computer, when the final tally arrives, will tell you in its non-judgemental way, ‘That was…. Terrible!’.

A second part of the disk includes an ‘anagram’ game in which the words are mixed-up for the user to de-scramble. I spent a good five-minutes staring at hecrutsoare (treacherous). How that was going to help me become a better speller, I do not know.

School Software Ltd. have certainly put together a database of words which cause difficulty when spelling. Unfortunately, the words are presented in a hodgepodge order with no relevance to one another. Better Spelling is a big snore, and it would be simpler to look through a dictionary.

CU Amiga, July 1991, p.167