ACCORDING TO THE Daily Mail, one in five pupils can't spell the word 'weather' and illiteracy is rife, even at university. It's a sorry state of affairs, and it's one that we can't expect the over-
Spelling Fair is made by the same team that created the Fun School range, and it's an easy way to help your children learn to spell. It consists of six main learning sections plus a dictionary and a spelling 'hot-word' list. Each section uses graphic displays and mouse-
The first is Coconut Shy, where a row of coconuts is marked with letters. The pupils knock out the letter which aren't part of the word the clue is referring to. If they do it four times in a row they get an animated 'prize'. The coconut shy tests up to 12-letter words and each word usually has a couple of extra letters tacked on to the start or end.
Next up is Test Your Strength which tests for correct plurals. Here the pupil must direct a man with a hammer to hit the pad marked with the correct word from four possible choices.
Each time one is answered correctly, people pop their heads round the fence to watch. Get four right to win a round of applause.
Then it's the Mechanical Grab, a version of those annoying money-
This is done by directing the grabber's hand to the correct ending and selecting 'GRAB'. The arm moves across the screen and drops down to pick up the word. A prize drops into the slot below if the pupil gets the word right. Get four right and a PacMan gobbles up all the prizes.
Haunted House is a test for commonly mis-chosen words like wear/
In Circus Word a small, partially completed crossword appears. Moving the mouse over the squares displays a clue for the missing word. The child must click on the square, then type ina guess. Complete all the words in the crossword and you see the human cannonball fired from the cannon.
Finally, in Word Juggle, two clowns stand in the circus ring holding balls marked with letters. A clue appears below and the child has to swap the letters round to make up the word. Get the words right four times and a uni
The remaining parts to Spelling Fair are intended for use by the parent or teacher, though the average kid won't take long to realise how to use these bits too. The dictionary section enables the parent to edit the word clues or add new words and clues to the 3,000 words already stored. More useful is the Spelling List section where parents can add lists of words they know their child is having difficulty with. These 'hot-words' then appear in the games in random order, forcing the child to learn by repeated encounters.
If your son or daughter is having trouble with words, is aged between seven and 13, and can be trusted to use your Amiga (without loading a shoot-em-up the minute your back is turned), then they could really benefit from Spelling Fair. Its approach, though a bit juvenile for a 13-year-old, does make sense right from the word go.
Europress have included a host of awkward and often-