Wordchain news – October 1st 2021
We were hoping that by the end of September we would be through the final testing stages of Wordchain for Web, the browser-based subscription version of Wordchain, but it’s taking a little longer.
Still, it’s important to us that we have it working as seamlessly as possible, so we’re pushing on with testing during the school holidays and aiming to release it as soon as we can.
Wordchain for Web will allow users to access Wordchain in a browser on most internet-connected devices – iPads, Chromebooks, Windows and Mac desktops, phones etc. A student could, for instance, work on a Chromebook at school and then continue on a desktop PC at home or an iPad at a friend’s house.
The apps will remain available for those that prefer a single payment rather than a subscription, or where internet connectivity is an issue, but we’re thrilled about how Wordchain for Web will make Wordchain accessible to far more users, at a lower-priced entry point.
If you’re interested in more detail or pricing for Wordchain for Web, get in touch.
WordChain is a series of comprehensive apps focused on building capable, confident Kiwi readers and writers! Created in Aotearoa New Zealand, it features New Zealand accents.
The apps are designed to independently teach the skills that underlie successful reading and spelling: phonological awareness, phonics, and ‘chunking’.
WordChain has been used in many New Zealand schools with outstanding results, and featured in the Government’s 2020 Classroom Kete.
But perhaps most importantly, it’s a huge success with kids: we have many stories of them clamouring to be allowed to play “the penguin game”!
A Brief History
After two years of testing in NZ schools, Wordchain officially launched in 2017 as four apps for iOS and Android devices.
In 2020, Wordchain 1 & 2 were released with Australian accents for the Australian market.
As of September 2021, Wordchain for Web is in final testing stages, so that users will be able to access Wordchain in a browser on most devices: laptops, desktops, iPads, Chromebooks, phones and more. It will allow them to save their progress across any of those devices.
There are 136 sequenced decodable readers that directly follow Wordchain levels, putting into direct practice the words and structures that students have just learnt to process in Wordchain.
They’re written for older students, Year 4 and upwards. There is a heavy emphasis on comprehension, with every book scripted for comprehension strategies in the accompanying manual. All have a follow-up activity designed to build comprehension, and in most cases writing skills as well.
WordChain is a collaboration between Christchurch literacy expert Betsy Sewell and Nectarine, a Wairarapa-based multimedia company with decades of experience in the education sector.
The WordChain apps are the software part of Betsy Sewell’s Agility With Sound, a comprehensive programme for building confident capable readers. Agility With Sound includes an extensive range of readers that link directly into the various levels of WordChain so that kids can put their learning about words directly into use in reading tailored to those specific words.
Betsy’s programme is a product of her many experiences: as a teacher, as a research anthropologist and as a mother of dyslexic children. From those careers she developed a disciplined, systematic, scientific way of breaking down barriers to reading competency.
She has worked with hundreds of children who struggled with reading: teaching them, listening to their stories and to the anguish of their parents and care-givers, the bewilderment and powerlessness of their teachers. Her passion has seen her create Agility With Sound as a fundamental tool in helping so many children achieve reading success!
Nectarine’s Minty and Bek have been in the whole multimedia caper since 1993, working in Melbourne with a focus on educational and artistic projects for clients like the Department of Education, Adobe, Microsoft, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Curriculum Corporation and the Australian National Gallery.
They moved to Aotearoa in 2005 and continued their endeavours, expanding into board game design on over 20 games. Over the decades, Nectarine has won a swag of awards for creative work underpinned by a unique sense of design, innovation and humour.
Those qualities have come into force for WordChain, supporting their belief that if you can make educational activities fun and funny, then kids will actually look forward to learning!