The Science

7spell is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind 7spell's effectiveness.

Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF.

In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With 7spell, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.

Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web.

Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that 7spell accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.

Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web.

In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in 7spell to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.

Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web.

Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the 7spell activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.

Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532

In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and 7spell incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, 7spell provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.

Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF.

Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. 7spell uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.

How Did April Get Its Name?

Ever wonder why the months are named the way they are? What is it about the last month of the year that makes “December” an apt name for it? What about April and March – what are their stories?

We know for certain that for August through December, the months’ name correspond to their order of appearing in the year. September was the seventh month, October the eighth and so on, back when March was the first month of the year. However, April’s name has nothing to do to its position in the sequence.

April, the blossoming of Nature

The most prevalent theory as to how April got its name says that it goes back to the Latin word ‘aprilis’ and the verb ‘aperire,’ both of which denote an opening, to open, or blossom. This is a well-grounded hypothesis considering that April is the time when both animals and nature resume their activities after the long winter. Signaling this activity by naming the month after it seems like a sensible thing to do.

Another theory, however, says that ‘April’ got its name from the Greek goddess of Beauty and Love, Aphrodite. Again, this could be seen as an attempt to denote the beauty of this time of the year as the trees and flowers begin to blossom, showing off their radiant colors.

April is a month commonly mentioned in literary works, music and other forms of oral culture and arts. T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land opens with the line: “April is the cruellest month” and George Orwell’s 1984 novel opens with this strong image:

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks  were striking thirteen.”

April Proverbs and Sayings

Cultures around the world have proverbs about the month of April that help us better understand the significance and role it had to play in their daily lives.

“March Winds and April showers bring forth May flowers”

This well-known proverb perfectly illustrates how the weather in March and April ensures the abundance of May and early summer.

This proverb signals the anticipation of spring and all the images this conjures up of blossoming flowers and buzzing nature. In many countries and especially the UK and Ireland, April has heavy rain (or ‘April showers’) due to the jet stream.  The Spanish face the same phenomenon as illustrated by their own saying which is very similar: “En abril, aguas mil.” This proverb says that during the month of April, there’s a lot of rain, ‘millions of water.’

In previous centuries when people use to forecast weather based on the weather of particular days and months, April was among the months whose weather was under scrutiny. Such forecasts include:

- After a wet April, a dry June

- Fogs in April, floods in June

- Moist April, clear June.

At the same time, the French have a saying that counsels patience. The proverb says that April is not yet the time to don your summer outfits:

-En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil.

The French caution you not to put away your winter clothes yet as cold is still a fact.

Is there a special proverb or saying in your language about April? Let us know in the comments below!

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Can Wikipedia Be Considered A Respectable Academic Source?

Elizabeth Farquhar

The first line of Wikipedia’s own article on citations says it all: “As with any source, especially one of unknown authorship, you should be wary and independently verify the accuracy of Wikipedia information if possible.” Students, researchers, and anyone else looking for information on a topic have the responsibility to make sure they’re using the latest resources possible. Because Wikipedia is generally updated much more quickly than printed resources, you’ll probably be better off starting your search for information with the Wikipedia entry on the topic. But that’s not where you should stop, if you plan on using the information you find in a research paper you need to hand in to your science teacher, or the article you’d like to get published in an academic journal. Make sure you follow the links back to the source of that information, so that you can read what the original author wrote. There are several reasons to do this:

You’ll find more details, especially when it comes to facts and figures. The internet may be infinite, but few researchers have the time to duplicate every word and image from a 10-page article on insomnia in fruit flies into a corresponding Wikipedia entry. However, a link to that article can easily take you from the entry to the original publication, where you’ll see exactly what those researchers were working on.

You’ll find information you didn’t even know you were looking for. Even if you didn’t know about eReflect’s educational software, you’ll be directed to the company’s Wikipedia page where you can get information on speed reading, touch typing techniques, spelling tutor programs, or English vocabulary improvement.

You’ll get a new perspective and new ideas from knowledgeable people around the world. There are so many people contributing to Wikipedia that the amount of information is only limited by the time they have to add their pieces to the global research network.

You’ll be able to cite the original reference material in your own work. Many educational institutions, professional associations, and academic organizations will not allow you to list Wikipedia as a primary information source.

It’s not that Wikipedia isn’t a respectable academic source, but the editors of this worldwide reference tool remind people that it is just a source: the place where you can find links to more expanded information from the original authors, whose works you can confidently cite in your article, term paper, dissertation, or Wikipedia entry of your own.

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7 Great Online Tools To Improve Essay Writing Skills (Guest Post)

Kenneth Waldman

Essay writing skills are imperative for success in any professional field or lifestyle choice. And whether you dream of working in advertising or accounting, or if you want to be a journalist or a business owner, it really makes no difference. Everyone benefits from honing his or her writing and communication skills.

Essays can be a daunting task for some. And individuals who have no desire to become a writer may not see the importance of perfecting their essay writing skills. However, it’s important to be able to communicate ideas and thoughts clearly, and writing skills work in conjunction with reading and listening skills. Overall communication is key, and forming educated and knowledgeable essays is essential to anyone’s future success.

Review the following 7 online sources to get started. You can begin writing better essays today, if you understand where you look. And regardless of where your skills are lacking, there is most likely a tool or software available to help. First, identify your own weaknesses, and then try using one of the tools listed below that best suits your specific needs.

Ultimate Spelling – This spelling resource can be used as a spellchecker, however it’s also a spelling teacher. Users can access spelling lists for study to increase their focus and productivity, as well as track and note their progress. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, as your spelling will drastically improve and you will begin to make fewer mistakes.  

Help.Plagracker – You never want to submit an essay that has copied material or improperly sited references. You will ruin your reputation and possibly your future academic and professional career. Double check documents before submitting them by using Plagtracker’s unique checking algorithm. Their scan can assure your work is always 100% unique.

NinjaEssays – This writing service is composed of highly qualified writers and professionals, and is a great place to gain one-on-one essay proofreading assistance. Their team can help with structure and format questions, as well as with overall readability and proofreading. And some may prefer this type of help, instead of an automated system or service.

Thesis Builder – The Thesis Builder from Tommarch is a free resource, however they do accept donations. Users can find and discover essay topics and gain useful advice on how to format and and create an effective thesis. The site also helps generate an outline and can be extremely helpful when starting the essay writing process.

Hemingway – This online editor and app offers users the ability to type directly on the site, or copy and paste text, and to receive a readability score in addition to highlighted suggestions for correction. The app, like Hemingway, focuses on using easy to read sentences, avoiding the overuse of adverbs and eliminating hard to read or repetitive language.

AskPetersen – This site offers access to everything you need to know for writing the best essays. Readers can obtain essay samples, study guides, educational articles, reviews and even posts on student Lifehacks and advice. The blogs cover other academic tools as well, and can be a great daily reference for any type of essay or writing assignment.  

Readabiltiy Test – This online source offers the ability to test the readability of a webpage or directly inputted text, and also offers a thorough report for reference. The tool has been featured in Mashable, Buffer and Design Shack and is useful for editing essays to be sure information is communicated properly.

With so much information available today and so many options, it can be hard to know where to start when seeking help. These useful websites, apps and editors are reputable and a great place to begin improving your essay writing skills. And they are a great point of reference whenever and wherever you feel stuck in the writing process.

Developing honed writing skills is simply important, whether you like it or not. And they will be a necessary skill to have throughout your entire life. Whether it is an academic paper or professional cover letter and resume, writing skills are used in all of our daily lives. And can make or break your success and future opportunities.

Take advantage of what technology and the web provide and use the tools listed above to your benefit. Remain motivated and confident, and understand you will have to put in the work. The tools will not write your essay for you, but they can definitely help push your essay writing skills to the next level.

Author: Kenneth Waldman is a professional content writer with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes education, marketing, freelancing. Get in touch with him on Twitter.

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Why Wikipedia Is The Best Source For Researchers

Elizabeth Farquhar

Not so long ago, if you wanted to look up a fact, a date, or any other piece of information on nearly any topic, you’d have to look in an encyclopedia or go to the library. Today, the contents of a thousand encyclopedias and a million libraries are instantly accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Like the shelves at a bookstore, websites and other virtual resources offer a wide range of publications written by authors with an equally wide range of knowledge and skill. But while an author’s lack of writing skill might make their material harder to read, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they’re talking about. You might not enjoy the reading experience, but you’ll get the information you need. On the other hand, an author’s lack of knowledge on a topic means you may waste your time looking for facts that aren’t there – or worse, you may find information that is inaccurate and rely on it as true.

Printed materials are often not the best source for researchers because they go out of date so quickly. Out-of-date information is one of the main causes of inaccuracy in print publications, which is why the editors responsible for traditional reference materials like dictionaries and encyclopedias have to regularly review, refresh, and reprint the hardbound and paperback volumes that people have bought and used for generations. Unfortunately, the high cost of print publication means that these updates are only done yearly, or even less often.

Changes in science and technology cause even more inaccuracy when people have to depend on printed books. Not only are reference materials generally at least a year out of date, books published by scientists and researchers generally aren’t updated at all. It’s usually easier for the author to simply write an article containing the new or revised text and submit it to a journal or other regularly-published collection of information. That means that libraries have to subscribe to those publications and keep them up to date on their shelves, and no library can afford to have a copy of journals in every field. If you’re interested in a specific topic, you might not find what you’re looking for at a library, so you’ll have to subscribe to the printed journal yourself to stay up to date.

One reason why Wikipedia is the best source for researchers is that it’s updated regularly – people all over the world are constantly editing and adding information on topics that they know about and are interested in. They use the modern online versions of journals and publications to add new knowledge to this global database, so it’s easier to find the most current data and the results of the latest studies. Wikipedia is also a good place to start your research because it has entries for almost any topic you can think of, from the African roots of modern jazz to the best day to hold a Zoroastrian wedding. If you’re looking for information on how to improve your speed reading skills, how to eliminate typos when you’re at the keyboard, how to become a better speller, or how to increase your vocabulary, visit eReflect’s Wikipedia page for easy access to the latest in self-improvement software.

About the Author: Elizabeth Farquhar is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of 7 Speed Reading which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

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7 Little Known Fun Facts About March Worth Knowing

If you think March has nothing special worth celebrating, just consider the following food days observed in the US and other parts of the world at this time: March is the National Celery, Flour, Peanut, Noodle and Sauce Month!

So, if you’re a fan of any of these foods, you could celebrate it with a special dinner. If frozen food is more like you, March is the national month for frozen food. Of course, this is in direct contrast to the fact that March also happens to be National Nutrition Month with initiatives, projects and events aiming to raise awareness on the importance of healthy eating, so pick your celebrations wisely!

March is also a month-long period for raising awareness on caffeine consumption.

A delicious month full of flavor and zing

If March brings to mind warmer days with more sun and less rain, then your day is just about to get better.

On March 1, it’s the National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, a day you can eat your peanut butter with a spoon right from the jar. A day later, Banana Creme Pie is celebrated, only to be followed by another tasty and fun National Day, that of Mulled Wine. March 6 greets us with National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day. But before we both start drooling on our screens, let’s see other fun facts about March.

The Vernal Equinox: The Official Start of Spring

Around March 20, the first equinox of the year takes place. During the Vernal Equinox the sun is crossing the celestial equator and on this day, the day and night have the same duration. After that, days become longer and nights shorter until the Fall Equinox around September 22, when nights start to get longer.

Famous People Born In March

From Dr Seuss to Jessica Biel and Shaquille O’Neal, March is the month many Hollywood, literature, and sports stars were born in.

Jon Bon Jovi, Albert Einstein, Bruce Willis, 007 movie spy Daniel Craig, Adam Levine, and Elton John are among the artists and actors born in March.

Reading Your Heart Out in March

March is the month of raising awareness on reading and literacy, a practice made possible and more widely known through National Reading Month observed in the US.

Often the celebrations start in classrooms with homages to Dr. Seuss and continue through family and teacher-driven events such as family literacy seminars and events, library meetings, and contests that raise awareness on the importance of motivating children to read. National Reading Month also seeks to help children understand and love reading as a form of pleasure and education.

March in other languages

March doesn’t take its name from the act of walking (or ‘marching’) but instead from the Roman god of War, Mars. And if you have ever wondered what name March goes by in other languages, wonder no more:

* Chinese (Mandarin) – Sanyuè

* French – Mars

* Italian, Spanish – Marzo

* Greek – Martios/Martis

The Notoriously Erratic Weather in March

In Old English, March was referred to as Hlyda or Lide, both which refer to the month’s loud winds and quite volatile and stormy weather.

March is a fascinating time of the year. Nature and animals wake up from hibernation and it’s the month that marks the beginning of exciting new things for many people. Are you planning something special this March?

How March Is Celebrated Around The World

Every year, March is filled an array of cultural activities . Across the world, people and cultures commemorate heroes and honor religious and cultural personas through national and international events.

So what exciting and lesser known events are taking place this March?

Liberation Day

Many countries including Bulgaria, South Korea, and Morocco, celebrate their liberation or independence day in March. Bulgaria on the 3rd, South Korea on the 2nd, and Morocco on the 1st of March are commemorating days that forever changed their countries’ course in history.

March, the month of the French Culture and Language

March is dedicated to Francophonie, the French language as it is spoken around the world. The celebrations culminate March 20 through cultural initiatives and projects across the world in an effort to raise awareness of the French language and honor French culture.

Thousands of people out of more than 274 million French language speakers will celebrate International Francophonie Day.

Celebrating Women

Across the US, the United Kingdom, and other western and eastern countries, women’s organizations, charities, NGOs and other bodies will celebrate Women’s History Month as a way of highlighting the contribution, sacrifices and achievements of women. The month-long observance coincides with March 8, International Women’s Day, during which local and national events that celebrate women are at their peak.

St Patrick’s Day

This cultural and religious event takes place on the 17th of March every year and celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. St Patrick’s Day is commonly perceived as a celebration of Irish heritage and cultural legacy more than a religious event these days, however.

Cultural events including parades and the customary wearing of green apparel are among the most distinctive practices people partake in when celebrating this special day. St Patrick’s Day is observed in the US, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and other regions across the world where Irish people live.

Spring will be sprung on the 20th of March!

Europe officially marks the onset of Spring on the 20th of March every year. The Northern Hemisphere’s Vernal Equinox is considered the first day of spring, and many people spend the day engaged in ‘spring cleaning’ and other observations of renewal and rebirth as a way of passing from winter to summer through optimism-driven activities.

Celebrating Nature

Iran and Belgium both celebrate trees and nature as a whole with two movable special days that happen to take place in March this year. On March 6, 2016 Iran celebrates its National Tree Planting Day and Belgium launches its National Festival of Trees on March 18, 2016.

Other Important Events Taking Place in March in 2016

Canada observes the Epilepsy Awareness Month during March while in the United States, organizations and NGOs supporting the American Dietetic Association celebrate National Nutrition Month through campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness on proper nutrition for children and adults. In the same vein, the National Association for Music Education runs several initiatives nationwide in schools and beyond.

Cultural Events Near You In March

March is a fascinating month with many international and national music stars embarking on world tours while big play productions are premiering. From Adele to Muse and shows like ‘Wicked’ in Paris, there are plenty of options for music lovers and drama aficionados.

So, if you’re traveling to a big city in Europe, Asia or the US, make sure to attend the best music and cultural events on display this March!

Everything You Need To Know About March Is Here

March took its name from the Roman god Mars, the God of War, and it’s the third month in the Gregorian calendar year observed throughout the world. But that’s not all there is to it. Let’s see what else is worth knowing about March.

At one point, March was the first month of the year

March was named after the god Mars and it has 31 days. It wasn’t always the third month in the calendar year, though.

In fact, March used to be the first month of the year, due to the Vernal Equinox that takes place around March 20th every year, which was considered the official start of Spring. Many cultures still celebrate the New Year in March, including several regional Hinduist cultures in India, Nepal and  those observing Sikhism.

March symbolism and special days

The March birth flowers are the daffodil and violet, while one of its birthstones, bloodstone, stands for courage.

Little-known facts about March

Another name for March in Old English was “Hlyda’’ which means ‘loud’ or ‘roaring’ – presumably as a way of describing this month’s winds and stormy, volatile weather.

March is American Red Cross Month. During this month-long observance the organization raises awareness on the practices and activities of the Red Cross, inviting people to get to know its mission and to become part of the organization as a way of helping others through donations of funds and blood, volunteering, and other forms of support to communities in need across the United States.

If you’re born in March then you are either a Pisces (February 19 to March 20) or an Aries (March 21 to April 19).

In Britain, the New Year was celebrated on March 25th until the 18th century. It wasn’t until 1752 when the British started to celebrate the New Year according to the Gregorian Calendar, that is, on January 1st.


If someone calls you ‘’mad as a March hare” they’re referring to some wild, uncontrollable behavior of yours  that resembles that of male hares during the mating season in March.

Another proverb that marks the significance of March as a passing from winter to spring is “March comes in a like a lion and goes out like a lamb”.

“March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,” is another proverb in the English language tightly associated with the weather of the season and how March is the onset of spring, awakening, and growth. This proverb is quite often used in its condensed form:

“April showers bring May flowers.”

March is a colorful month that carries the excitement for spring and summer. Its humble show-offs of flowers blooming and trees waking up, gives rise to an attitude full of optimism and momentum for many people.

Is there any special event you’re planning to celebrate this March? Share it with us!