On the app’s menu page you choose the Easy, Medium, or Hard version, based on your spelling ability. Then choose a level from one to twenty (the first three in each version are free). A crossword grid, ranging from two to ten words, appears, with small pictures that give visual cues to the words. In the easy version, the correct letters are already printed (in gray) within the crossword grid. The object here is for a child to match the letters of the alphabet, printed along the bottom of the screen, with the correct letters in the crossword. Drag each letter to the spot on the crossword where it belongs to complete the words — but if you let go of a letter or don’t drag it to the correct spot, you’ll have to try again.
After completing each level, a “Magic Word” board appears. Kids unscramble select letters from the crossword words (notice there’s a yellow boarder around some letters in the grid) to make the Magic Word. For example, after solving the crossword “Rocket” and “Knife,” you’ll get to spell the Magic Word “Note.” Once you’ve spelled the magic word, you progress to the next level.
If you choose the Medium version of the same level, only a couple of letters are pre-printed in gray in the tiles, and in the Hard version, none of the letters appear. Thus, the harder the version, the more you must rely on your prior knowledge of how to spell each word. If you need a reminder of how to spell a word, choose the image of the book at the top of the screen. You’ll get three chances during each level to look at an alphabetical list of words (ranging from two to eight letters long) to help you figure out what it is you’re trying to spell in the crossword.
There are more than five hundred easy, average, or difficult words to spell, and twenty levels of increasing difficulty within each section. And as an added bonus, a grid generator allows you to create even more games to enjoy. In addition to the English-language option, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish options are accessible from the main menu, as is an on-off switch for the music.
This is an easy-to-use app that doesn’t put pressure on the user: there’s no time limit to complete a crossword, you aren’t penalized for dragging letters to the wrong spot, and you can quit a game any time you want. I wish the app would say the word after you’ve completed spelling it or when you touch the image so kids could have that additional level of comprehension and association, but I think overall the app does a fine job helping young children develop spelling skills through the introduction of new vocabulary and the concept of crossword puzzles.