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Electronic Spellers & Dictionaries for Special Education

When I was growing up in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I remember having an electronic speller and dictionary.  This tool was very useful in assisting me to learn to spell.  It allowed me to spell a word, and then it would help to correct my spelling and provide me with definitions.

Today’s spellers and dictionaries are much more sophisticated than those early models.  They can speak, give handwriting directions, find rhymes, create vocabulary lists, play spelling games, and determine homonyms.  The spellers are reasonably priced, and a shared set for the classroom is affordable under today’s budget restraints.  This can be a great tool in your classroom for students who have difficulty pronouncing or spelling words.  It is more user-friendly than having the student use a paper dictionary because of its speed and can provide the proper spelling for the student even when they initially misspell it.  I am sure most of us have been frustrated when told to use the dictionary to find a word that we did not know how to spell and had to page through the book guessing at letters!

Electronic Spellers & Dyslexia

For a student with dyslexia, this tool can assist them to become more proficient in spelling, reading, and pronouncing words.  Typically, when a student is diagnosed with dyslexia, the student is given assistance on building their reading skills, and once the student can read, they are promoted out of the special education program.  Unfortunately, writing and spelling may not be addressed.  This is another area where students with dyslexia struggle.  Having an electronic speller can assist them in expressing their ideas on paper and to become more proficient with writing.

Leap Frog Turbo Twist & Spell

Leap Frog makes an electronic speller called Turbo Twist and Spell.  This educational toy raps songs to learn spelling rules and allows children to spell words to a musical beat.  Separate cartridges are sold for different grade levels and the programs adapt to the child’s ability and then challenges the student to increase their level.  There are also games to spell words or to find the missing letters and other downloadable games available from their website.  One of the best features of the Turbo Twist and Spell is that it gives the students hints, positive reinforcement, and encourages them to play and learn.

Electronic spellers and dictionaries can aid students in learning how to spell, learning meanings of words, and learning to express themselves through writing.

Article by Laura Ketcham

Photo from LeapFrog.com

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