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Build A Word Express - Practice spelling and learn letter sounds and names

Build A Word Express - Practice spelling and learn letter sounds and names



Age Range

Lower Primary

App Type

Learning App

Version Reviewed


Android Available?

Is Android Available

Lite Version Available?

Is a Lite Version Available

Help Provided?

Is Help Provided
Bloom's Thinking Process
CreatingBlooms Creating
EvaluatingBlooms Evaluating
AnalysingBlooms Analysing
ApplyingBlooms Applying
UnderstandingBlooms Understanding
RememberingBlooms Remembering
Includes recorded voice
Add own voice
Includes text
Add own text
Review Comments
Build A Word Express gives children practise spelling words using phonics. This app offers a huge range of spelling lists. One of the best features of this app is the ability to make your own list of words. These lists can be shared via email.
Words are grouped together in lists e.g. final "ck" words, final silent "e" words, 1-3 letter words, Dolch words etc. The adult can select a list before the student plays. There are three playing modes: Learn, Practice and Test.
Learn: A word is shown. The letters are jumbled underneath. The child has to drag the letters into the squares. The child can hear the whole word anytime. It would be useful if they could also hear the individual sounds again.
Practice: A word is heard. The letters are jumbled underneath.
Test: A word is heard. The letters are jumbled underneath. The child's progress is scored.
Pronunciation: Some of the pronunciations are hard to understand. The "r" sounds like "er". You can choose from an adult female or a child female voice. Some Australians might find the pronunciations confusing i.e. "past" pronounced with a short "a" vowel rather than a long "ar" vowel.
Level: All words are shown as single words.
Phonics:  These are short and long vowels, blends, digraphs and double consonant words.
Letters: Letters can be lower case or upper case. You can choose to have different colours for vowels and consonants. You can have no additional letters as distractors or up to 5 additional letters as distractors.
Build a Word Express can be used by multiple students.
Use Rank (*)
Spell with Phonics Ranked 7th of 44

(*) This app has been ranked according to its' effectiveness to achieve the learning goals and strategies listed. Some apps may rank highly for achieving a specific use and lower for other uses. Some students will learn and engage with one app more than others, because of the individual nature of us all.

Learning App
Learning apps are designed for a specific purpose. The authors claim to teach a goal, skill or concept.
Bloom's Thinking Process
Bloom's Taxonomy is classification system used to explain the behaviours important in learning. Apps range from simple memory tasks such as flashcards apps through to creative apps which ask students to create an original story or video.
Bloom's Creating
The student creates new ideas, products or ways of viewing things. Activities include making, animating, designing, constructing, planning, producing and inventing.
Bloom's Evaluating
The student justifies a decision or course of action. Activities include counting to check, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting and judging.
Bloom's Analysing
The student breaks the information into parts to explore understandings and relationships. Activities include explaining, ordering, inferring, comparing and organising.
Bloom's Applying
The student uses the information in a new situation. Activities include implementing, carrying out, using, illustrating, classifying and categorising.
Bloom's Understanding
The student comprehends the new information. Activities include describing, predicting showing understanding use a multiple choice.
Bloom's Remembering
The student recalls information they know. Activities include matching, 'fill in the blank', making a choice, answering using a multiple choice, naming a group.
Learning Connection
How well does the app teach the targeted skill or concept? This is the area where we refer to current research and pedagogy to evaluate the efficacy of the app.
Authenticity looks at the manner in which skills are learnt. Authentic apps use real life or genuine activities. Students learn in context rather than in a contrived or rote fashion (such as flashcards).
Feedback needs to be specific and result in improved performance. Feedback should be supportive and encouraging rather than negative. Data should be available to support decision making.
Differentiation is the ability to customise the app to suit the student. The ability to record you voice, customise text, add pictures and alter settings enables individualisation of the app.
User Friendliness
User friendliness is a measure of how well a student can use the app independently. Some apps are simply intuitive to use. Others include audio or visual prompts which support the student.
All apps are engaging the first time they are played. However, students with diverse learning needs may need to return to the app many times. Motivating apps offer rewards,games or incentives.
Spell with Phonics
These are apps that spell words using letter sounds in a word (as opposed to spelling the word using letter names). There are 44 phonemes or letter sounds in the English language, including letter combinations such as /th/.

Domain Score Details
Learning Connection 4
This app pronounces most words correctly. There are a large range of word lists from which to choose. It offers opportunities for repetitive practice of these words. It would be great to see these words included into sentences to practise spelling in context.
Authenticity 2
The student hears and see the word and chooses the correct letters to spell the word.
Feedback 2
Feedback is provided in the test section. When correct, the student hears praise and applause and receives a point under the smiley. When incorrect, the student hears a very negative "nooo" and receives a point under the red, sad face. In the history section, the adult can see reports on the progress of each child. These reports can be emailed.
Differentiation 4
You can add in your own word lists with your own voice. Adults can choose the list to teach. The case can be lower or upper. There are two narrators. Letters can be colour coded. There are some terrific accessibility options for students with visual impairment and fine motor challenges.
User Friendliness 4
Most students would find this app easy to use.
Motivation 2
This app would need some extra rewards or games to keep most students interested.
From the App Store
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natasa gajic

App Store Rating

(from 1 reviews)

Current Version Rating

(from 1 reviews)

Current Version

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Developer's Description
**Top 30 Favorite Free Apps at
**Good App of the Day at
**Dolch's Sight Word List and more +create your own SPELLING lists**
*** Option: Spelling Lists vs. Phonics Spelling Lists ***

► custom-made spelling-word lists (type in the new word and record your voice)!
► SHARE custom spelling lists to other iPads, iPhones... using e-mail, Google Drive, or DropBox
► Built-In Phonics Lists focusing on word families
► Built-In Spelling Lists focusing on Long Vowels, Short Vowels, …, Dolch’s Word Lists (Primer, …)
► HISTORY keeps track of student’s progress (customization per student possible)
►audio and/or visual prompt
► PROFESSIONAL narration or child’s narration
► 5 educational GAMES in addition to three modes: Learn, Practice and Test (quiz)
► upper or lower case letters
► optional Montessori-style color coding of vowels and consonants
► immediate sound feedback heard upon tapping the correct/incorrect letter
► positive reinforcement lowers affective filters making learning a more engaging and enjoyable process
► ACCESSIBILITY options to for VISUALLY impaired and those struggling with fine motor skills
► optional custom made features for special needs students
► child proof SETTINGS button

Build A Word Spelling Express helps students as young as three learn how to spell. Students are motivated through positive reinforcement in the form of a fun balloon popping game (optional) offered after each successfully "written" word.

Advantage for Special Need Students:
* option of using blank background helps children focus on letters only
* option to choose high-contrast background for visually impaired
* option to choose answer method: drag&drop or simple tap
* the letters are easy to spot due to big letter cards
* no frustration since visual and audio prompts in the Learn Mode lead the child step by step through the correct spelling process
*the right spelling technique becomes salient since the app leads the child step by step through spelling allowing dragging one letter at a time in the correct order
* choose any number of redundant letters: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
* wrong letters become obvious with the help of immediate sound feedback heard after tapping the wrong letter
* repetition of audio prompt helps with hearing and remembering the word and letters

Disclaimer: The evaluations and rankings information provided here are based solely on the opinion of the author and are for informational purposes only. Families should seek professional advice before making decisions regarding interventions for their child.