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.
As you can see from the steps above, Wordshark is very easy to use, however there is plenty of help in using the program:
- Under Help in the program top menu you can access video tutorials and a pdf manual
- This same information can be accessed from the ‘Using Wordshark’ page of wordshark.co.uk’s website, which includes a pdf on tips for home users as well as all the other bite-size pdfs on using Wordshark
- On-screen help can also be switched on, under Help in the top menu
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.
Examples of suitability for Dyslexic pupils:
- Over 70 games plus incentivising reward games with multiple options and settings offer the perfect antidote to reluctant learners or those with a short attention span.
- The variety of games also means that students have the opportunity to learn in different ways, and to ‘overlearn’ i.e. repeat the same information, but without losing motivation.
- The multi sensory approach adopted by Wordshark has been found to be very effective with Dyslexic learners.
- Personalising Wordshark is easy. You can add your own words and create personal accounts for each student (including settings choices or the option to set work.) This means that you can adapt Wordshark for each learner, who can work at their own level and pace.
- Phonics courses and other options for teaching with phonics provide support for the development of early reading skills, as well as catering for SEN students of all ages. Spelling through phonics is the most commonly used technique for learners with Dyslexia.
- Visible scores and few time restraints mean that children are in a exciting but stress-free environment. This encourages them to try harder and achieve even more.
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.
In terms of making the most of Wordshark, under Help in the program you can access video tutorials and the pdf manual. This same information can be accessed more easily from the ‘Using Wordshark‘ page on wordshark.co.uk’s website, which includes a pdf on tips for home users.
Can Wordshark be used with more than one child?
Yes. The program will allow you set up an account for each of your children. They will then be able to work at their own level and keep their personal settings and a record of their progress.
What does Wordshark 5 run on?
- The computer will need a DVD drive (or a USB port if the program is purchased on a USB)
- Windows: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
- Macs: OS X version 10.7 to 10.12
- A microphone – inbuilt or otherwise, is also needed if you would like to record your own words.
Please note: Wordshark is currently unavailable for android devices or in ‘App’ format