Spell Me

Reviewed by Les Ellingham



Issue 14

Mar/Apr 85

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One or two programs have appeared to teach pre-school children the alphabet but there have been few (if any) to cover the next step of word association and spelling SPELL ME is ideally suited to the slightly older child who has mastered the alphabet and simple words and needs to practice or recognise longer words and the association of words with pictures. The program was conceived by a teacher and programmed by someone obviously familiar with the Atari.

A series of pictures of everyday objects are presented on screen together with a word identifying the picture. The object is to correctly repeat the word using the keyboard to score points. A successful effort is rewarded with a point and the playing of one of three nursery rhymes. Failure means another try and a point lost before the computer repeats the word correctly. A word that proves too difficult may be changed with the START button. Initially words are presented in upper case as this matches the letters on the keyboard and will help the child to associate the keys with the alphabet but it is recognised that children learn in lower case and this option may be chosen although the parent may then have to help in the choice of the correct key.

On the first level the word associated with the picture is displayed on the screen and it is merely necessary to copy it. Level 2 shows the word for a short time and the child has then to remember and type it. The most difficult level teaches word association by just presenting the picture. There are around 38 words in all (more on the disk version) each with an excellent illustration and the screen is laid out to good effect. Sound, although not complex, is used well.

SPELL ME comes with a brief manual emphasising the need for parents to take an active part in a child's education. If your child has reached the age of around four or four and a half and you want to encourage his or her development then SPELL ME together with your Atari could well prove to be an excellent investment.