Wordshark at Home
What is Wordshark and how does it work?
Wordshark is a computer program that combines the fun and excitement of bright, multi-sensory games with the serious task of learning to read and spell.
It is used widely in schools as well as at home.
More than 60 colourful games have been designed by teachers to teach and reinforce reading and spelling using over 10,000 pre-recorded words.
You can also add your own word lists which is particularly useful for practising homework.
The varied combinations of games and word lists create both variety and motivation.
The program in basic steps:
Step 1. Select a word list or set up your own words...To get to the database of words, click on ‘Change word list.’ The words are grouped into specific, carefully structured lists.
Step 2. Choose one of the games icons.... To find these, click on ‘choose game.’ (The words in your list will appear in that game.)
Step 3. Play the game! Then try the reward activity...
Step 4. Play again or pick a new game...The different games reinforce the words in various ways.
Step 5. When the words are learnt, choose a new list.
The program comes with an introductory manual. Printable resources include a full manual with advice on how to use the program. Video turorials and on-screen help are also provided.
For what ages is it suitable?
Wordshark is mostly used by students between 5 and 15. Some of the games are more suitable for younger children but many games are appropriate for any age.
How will it help someone with dyslexia?
Parents are often recommended Wordshark when they seek extra help for their children’s dyslexia. As a result of dyslexia, children can have a negative attitude towards learning, so Wordshark combines fun and variety to create motivation and as a result, greater confidence.
Wordshark was created by teachers with practical experience of Special Educational Needs. Both the games and many of the word lists have been specially structured to assist those with any level of dyslexia.
How can Wordshark be used at Home?
Wordshark can either be used directly to support school work and homework (learning class spellings etc) or can be used independently to suit the student’s own pace and needs.
If necessary, the school teacher can be asked to suggest the appropriate word lists for the student.
Once students are set up by the administrator, the program will keep a note of their names and personal settings.
It is recommended that the sessions are short but frequent as this not only maintains the child's interest but gives the necessary practice needed for success.
There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, three or four short sessions a week (about 10-15 minutes each) seem to work really well, to achieve significant gains.
Some children will need to repeatedly go over what seems to be very basic work before moving on, in order to make real progress. Equally, some children need to be encouraged to move on.
Parents should always follow the progress of their children in using Wordshark - encouraging them to try the recommended games (both for reading and spelling) and to move on through the word lists.
There is a special chapter for parents, in the manual within the program.
Can Wordshark be used with more than one child?
Yes. The program will allow you to set up user files for any number of students. They will each be able to work at their own level and keep their personal settings and a record of their progress.
Wordshark can be used on any number of computers, although the DVD/USB needs to be in place during use.
What does Wordshark run on?
- The computer will need a DVD drive (or a USB port if the program is purchased on a USB)
- Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8
- Macs: OS X version 10.6 to 10.9
- A microphone - inbuilt or otherwise, is also needed if you would like to record your own words.