Spelling Blaster combines both entertainment and education in its spelling software, making it a good choice if you have a child or student in elementary school who is learning how to spell and needs help staying motivated.
With Spelling Blaster, you choose an intergalactic character to help you recover books stolen by aliens from a different planet. In order to identify who stole the books, you must solve spelling puzzles, gather clues, fill in the blanks of sentences, spell whole words, unscramble jumbled words and recognize spelling patterns and word families. To win the game, you must spell words correctly to receive clues about the alien culprits and identify who they are.
There are seven different types of games. At the beginning of each of them, you select a list of words from the 140 spelling lists available. The software has a 1,700-word database, with each list containing words commonly taught from kindergarten through third grade. As such, this game is designed for children ages 6-9. You can add words to the program to increase the difficulty; however, they will not be digitized on the screen, and the speech synthesizer is hard to understand on customized words.
Several of the games focus more on the goal, finding the alien who stole the books, rather than how to spell the words. Instead of typing with the keyboard, the game has you shoot lettered balls to spell a word and other various ways that almost get in the way of spelling out a word. Additionally, the games are short in length and variety. After the third or fourth spelling list, the games lose any value they had for engagement because they are too repetitive.
The program comes with several different types of spelling resources aside from the software. After you master a list of words, there is an onscreen storybook that you can read or print off. The storybook contains all of the words on the list and serves as a good review of the material. Spelling Blaster also comes with printable activities including word lists, word searches and crossword puzzles.
After you complete each mission, Spelling Blaster rewards you with a colorful certificate. The game allows for multiple users and stores each child’s progress separately. Additionally, the software monitors your misspellings so that problem areas are defined. The software offers some technical support with both a phone number and email on the company website.
While Spelling Blaster offers an entertaining way to learn how to spell, it has several shortcomings as an educational tool. The software is geared at young children, which mostly excludes this game from anyone over age 10, and while you can add customized words, the technology of the game makes it difficult to learn them without being able to see them. This software is well-suited for young children who respond especially well to learning with some form of game. Beyond that, this spelling software is not as versatile or effective as others on the market.