Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 41 / OCTOBER 1983 / PAGE 121

Spelling Quiz

Edward Perrin

Learning to spell is simplified by this program. It lets you create weekly lists of up to 20 words each, save the lists to tape or disk, and then retrieve the lists for practice sessions. For Atari and VIC.

"Spelling Quiz" allows you or your child to enter weekly spelling words into the computer and save them on tape or disk. All the words for an entire year can be saved at once or each week can be saved separately as the school year progresses.

The program allows you to enter up to 20 words at a time. Most weekly spelling assignments are no more than 20 words. The program prompts are self-explanatory, but it would be helpful to read through the following instructions.

Load in the program with the BASIC cartridge inserted. The loading time for tape is about four minutes.

Type in RUN, and after the title page you will be asked if you want to Create or Retrieve a list of words to work on. You will also be asked if you are using a Disk or Tape.

Creating Word Lists

To create a list, simply type in up to 20 words, no more than 20 letters each and with no leading or trailing spaces, one at a time, and hit the RETURN key. Be sure each word is spelled correctly before hitting RETURN. If you enter fewer than 20 words, type in an * following the last input. After the last word or * you will be asked to type in some sort of identifier for that particular list. Use "Chapter 4" or "List 189," for example. You must use some type of identifier that your child will understand. The identifier is used to make sure your child has retrieved the correct list.

Disk users will be asked to enter a filename. Only the filename is necessary; the program will supply the "D1:". Be sure to make the name unique and meaningful.

Tape users will need a blank tape or a tape which has been used to save other word lists. Be sure to note the tape counter number on a sheet of paper and store the paper with the word tape.

If you already have words stored, just follow the prompts to LOAD the words.

Check the list and the identifier to be sure that this is the list you wanted to use. If not, you have the option to LOAD a new list or create a new one as needed.

Once the words are LOADed in with the create or retrieve option, your child is ready to use the program. You now have the option to either spell a Certain number of words correctly, spell an unlimited number of words correctly, or End.

If you choose the C option, you will be graded, and the program will terminate when the number of words spelled correctly equals the number you entered at the prompt. If you choose the unlimited option (by pressing RETURN), you can spell only 10,000 words before the program terminates. It is easy to change the 10,000 to another upper limit. Change the number in the last line of the program to stop the program automatically at a preset number.

The Quiz Begins

When you have made all of the choices, the game is ready to play. The screen will show the number of the word being scrambled, the score (how many words you have spelled correctly), a scrambled word, and the attempt number. At the bottom of the screen is a GRAPHICS 0 window where you will type your answers. The word number on top will help if you cannot figure out the word. The program is supposed to check spelling competence rather than ability to unscramble words, so there is no penalty for not unscrambling correctly. Use this option as you wish.

Your child will then have three tries to spell the word correctly. If correct, the screen will respond with an encouraging CORRECT and a happy sound. After three tries, the program will give the correct spelling and set up a different screen to allow the child to practice the misspelled word.

Practice Screen

The practice screen will not allow misspellings. It does allow the child to exit when he or she wants to by pressing the *. In this mode, be sure to press the space bar after each word and not the RETURN. Pressing RETURN would cause the computer to register an error in the spelling.

After the number of correct spellings equals the number put in at the beginning, or if your child enters * instead of spelling a word during the main run, the quiz will end and the child will be graded on his or her performance. If you think the grading is too strict, change the limits in the grading subroutine in lines 9000-9400.

After the grading, the player can go back and retrieve or create and save a new file or use the same words that are already in the computer's memory. He or she also has the option to end at this time. If the player continues, the whole cycle repeats.

Spelling Quiz For The VIC

Marc Sugiyama, Programming Assistant

In Spelling Quiz for the VIC (Program 2), the words can be only 14 letters long; however, you are still allowed a maximum of 20 words. Remember, though, that memory is tight in an unexpanded VIC, so too many long words may cause an out-of-memory error. The percentage calculated at the end of the quiz reflects only the last 20 questions, not all of the questions asked during the session.

The VIC version of Spelling Quiz is easily converted to other computers; however, certain changes must be made. The cursor control characters (that is, those to clear the screen or to change the cursor's color) must be adapted to your computer. Three different POKE commands are used in this program. The first, to location 36879, controls the screen and border colors. The second POKE command, using location 214, changes the vertical position of the cursor. The last, involving location 204, turns the cursor on and off. When 204 contains a zero, the cursor is on; otherwise, the cursor is off.