ReviewsWhole Brain Spelling David and Robin Minnick Requirements: Apple Il-series computer with a minimum of 48K memory; Commodore 64; disk drive required.
Whole Brain Spelling is a study tool that lets you review, word by word, any of 200 ten-word lists contained in the program. It's menu-driven, and there are help windows in the program as well as a very thorough manual.
Whole Brain Spelling, from Sub-LOGIC, offers several varieties of word study, and each category is sold separately. You choose which word list you wish to study; General—based on studies of words correctly spelled by fifth through eighth graders; A Child's Garden of Words—lists for ages 5-9 (preschool through third grade); Fairy Tale—words taken from Grimm's and other fantasy tales; Scientific—divided into general, earth, life, and physical sciences; Medical—terminology, diagnosis, anatomy, and drugs; and Business—real estate, insurance, legal, commercial, and accounting. The Whole Brain Spelling program and one set of word lists (2000 words per set) are sold on one disk.
The program makes use of highlighting, multiple colors, upper- and lowercase, flashing, and other graphics techniques to emphasize a word's spelling pattern. For example, the double A in AARDVARK is highlighted, and words are spelled out one letter at a time. This helps you to visualize the word in your mind's eye, the internal visualization technique on which this program is based. Thus you learn not only the spellings of the words on your list, but also how to learn to spell.
Reviewing words is done at your own pace in the Study Words section. Then in the Spell Words section, you can check how well you've studied. Misspellings are analyzed and trouble spots identified by visual display.
The manual is the same for all lists. It's an all-encompassing handbook that explains not only how the program works, but also the philosophy behind it and who created it. Plus, the manual contains all the word lists, so you can tell by looking at it what other disks you may want.
So, why not just study the manual? Whole Brain Spelling provides another method of study. It teaches you how to learn to spell—not just these words, but any word—by teaching you to visualize. At the same time, when studying the words on the lists, the program holds your interest far more firmly than gazing at a black-and-white printed list, covering it with your hand, squeezing your eyes shut, and trying to recall the spelling of each word.
Whole Brain Spelling focuses on one word at a time, emphasizing patterns in a word's spelling. It allows practice and testing, and it can be used effectively by students from pre-school through, and beyond, college. Primarily, it helps you develop a method for learning how to spell.
While there could be more excitement on the screen when the student spells a word correctly (it would be more rewarding), only one thing could make a major improvement on Whole Brain Spelling. That would be the addition of some kind of speech synthesizer—digitized, preferably—used in the Spell Words segment. Nonetheless, the Whole Brain Spelling program is excellent just as it is.SubLOGIC Corporation 713 Edgebrook Dr Champaign, IL 61820 Apple version, $34.95 Commodore 64 version, $29.95