Over the last number of years we have been working at improving different aspects of literacy in our school. In the area of writing, we have used First Steps Writing, in reading we have adopted First Steps Reading and have purchased subscriptions to Reading Eggspress for pupils in fourth to sixth class. To assist us with developing and improving oral language we have adopted First Steps Speaking and Listening. The one area that remained for improvement was spelling, so this is the aspect of literacy that we have chosen for our School Self Evaluation and School Improvement Plan in literacy.
Vocabulary Spelling City is an online flash based educational website aimed at helping schools, teachers, parents and pupils with learning spellings using game based learning. At a most basic level in using Vocabulary Spelling City, anyone can visit the site and input a list of words which can be used in twelve free activities that can be used to aid in learning the spellings of the words in a list.
If a school, teacher or a parent register as a user on Vocabulary Spelling City, wordlists can be created and saved on the site for use in free games by a child or a number of children. Once lists have been created, children can visit the site and search for lists already created either by Parent Name, Teacher Name or Username. Vocabulary Spelling City also offer parents, teachers and schools the opportunity to purchase Premium Accounts whereby each child has an individual account with their own username and password. Once a child logs into the site, the lists created by their teacher or parent will be automatically assigned to them. The teacher or parent can also assign children different activities as assignments. The site also tracks progress in the different activities that children undertake while logged in. Premium accounts give users access to a number of additional activities and is also advertisement free.
In 2012, Vocabulary Spelling City developed their first IOS app for the Apple iPad and iPod Touch. The app has eight different games to use with lists created by a teacher or a parent with a free account and 18 games for Premium members on an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. An Android Vocabulary City app which is fairly similar to the IOS app is available on the Google Play Store for use on Android tablets and phones and on the Amazon Store for Kindle devices.
All pupils in the school have their own individual account and feedback from both pupils and teachers to date has been very positive.