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.


Why 7spell Made

Categories: About Spelling, Uncategorized |

Here at TopTenReviews we reviewed 7spell and awarded it the Gold Award with an overall rating of 9.88 out of 10. TopTenReviews praised the “in-depth progress reports” and large database of available words. The overall verdict was that the software would be very helpful for children and young adults who want to improve their spelling, although it might not appeal to very young kids.

Teaches a Wide Range of Words

7spell’s database contains more than 160,000 words, which are organized into lists so that learners can easily decide which words to focus on. There are lists for children in grades one to 10, as well as specialized lists that help students prepare for the GRE, SAT, or TOEFL exams. Users can also build their own lists of words to suit their own purposes. TopTenReviews praised the wide range of utility that this spelling software provides. The review also noted that 7spell teaches far, far more words than any of the other top-rated spelling software products.

Teaches More than Just Spelling

As well as teaching users to spell words correctly, 7spell also teaches the pronunciation and meaning of words. Each word in the database is accompanied by links to web resources that explain the word’s meaning and context. The Word Explorer feature connects words to their synonyms, which allows learners to focus on particular subject areas and improve their vocabulary. Users can even click the Etymology tab to find out about the origins of words, which is an interesting feature.

Fun to Use

7spell was one of the most fun to use. The spelling software includes a number of fun games, including Save Stick Man, Crazy Clues, Super Scrambler, Word Search, Junior Scrabble and Word Tag. These games give learners an opportunity to test their knowledge and have fun playing with words. We were also impressed by the two key learning exercises of 7spell, Spelling Workout and Flash Cards. Spelling Workout gives users a chance to correct their mistakes, so that they learn from them and don’t keep making the same errors over and over again.

Easy to Track Progress

TopTenReviews gave 7spell a full 10 out of 10 rating for its progress reports. Users can view their progress, with graphs showing how many words they have mastered, as well as their spelling success rate. The spelling software also monitors how much time users have spent on each type of activity. Multiple users can create accounts and track their progress individually.

Helpful Technical Support

7spell offers technical support to help users who are having problems. As noted in the review, it is easy to connect to an online helpdesk, which provides a useful knowledge base and FAQs. Users whose questions are not answered on the website can ask a question via an online email form.


Spelling software is useful for kids, teenagers and adults alike. 7spell uses a range of engaging exercises and fun games to improve spelling skills while improving vocabulary and teaching users about the meaning, origins and pronunciation of words. TopTenReviews concluded that very young children are unlikely to get the most benefit out of this program, but many older children and young adults will find it an engaging and highly educational piece of software.

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