December 23, 2013 Leave a comment
With the new emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar in primary schools, including a test in year 6, it’s more important than ever to make sure that children have lots of opportunity to practise their spelling. We’re very excited to introduce Spell with Pip – a fun new spelling app for children from the team behind the world-famous Oxford Children’s Dictionaries.
There are lots of quirks in the English language which make it tricky for children to spell words correctly. Here at OUP our Children’s Dictionaries team has a huge database of children’s writing, so they can spot exactly the kind of spellings children often struggle with (read more about the Oxford Children’s Corpus here).
For example, silent letters can be confusing: the silent ‘h’ at the beginning of ‘which’ is often left out by children, and sometimes an errant silent ‘h’ finds its way into other words, making ‘whith’ and ‘whent’. Sometimes we blur certain sounds when we speak, which is reflected in spellings like ‘happend’ and ‘suprise’. Double letters often prove difficult, as spellings such as ‘realy’ and ‘untill’ show.
With so much to think about, spelling can be challenging for children. But help is at hand from a new feathery friend.
Meet Pip the parrot, star of Spell with Pip: An Oxford Spelling Game – a brand new iPad app which is so much fun that children won’t even notice they are practising spelling.
In the app, children use their finger to swoop Pip around the screen, picking up floating letters in order to correctly spell a word. Spell with Pip has spelling skills at its core, but it is also a real arcade-style game which is exciting enough to keep children practising and learning. Take a look at this short video to see Spell with Pip in action.
The 3,000 words in the app have been carefully sorted into levels, guided by our Oxford Children’s Corpus research. As Pip visits different locations around the world, from the Oasis to the Arctic, the words he has to spell become gradually harder. Our Children’s Corpus has shown this doesn’t just mean longer words, but also words with double or silent letters (‘accidently’), consecutive vowels (‘freinds’) or irregular endings (‘heared’). Spell with Pip provides a friendly, colourful environment to rehearse these tricky words and gain confidence in spelling skills.
The app is designed for children aged 4-8, or for any children who need a little more confidence in spelling. All the words are taken from the Oxford First Dictionary, and the app is suitable for users of both UK and US English.
You can download Spell with Pip from the App Store (a version for Android will be available in spring 2014).
We’d love to hear how you get on with the app. Happy spelling!
Oxford Children’s Dictionaries
Oxford University Press publishes English and bilingual dictionaries for children of every age. Find out more about our bestselling range on our website, including the Primary Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Dictionary and School Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Dictionary.