What are Tell & Spell books?

The 6 books in the Tell & Spell  series are designed around the concept or approach which BERGUS have developed called Building Word Awareness. The series of books assist children, teenagers and adults to develop and foster a lifelong interest in words. Clues to words are presented in an interesting but challenging way which facilitates the learning of new vocabulary and with the aim of improving spelling ability.

How many levels in the Word Club?

We have graded 2,000 words across 6 levels of difficulty. This provides word challenges for children, teenagers and adults who may be at different stages in their English language development.

We also have 30 spelling tests in each level. This allows users to repeat tests again and again. A record of results on each test is kept in the personal account of each user.

The Building Word Awareness process has four steps where information about a word is given and the person must guess the word and spell it correctly.

How does Building Word Awareness work?

Pilot studies by BERGUS in primary schools found that children engaged with the learning process if they achieved some success initially. Pupils must feel that the information given is within their cognitive range. Throughout the book series and in our online Word Club children are introduced to both familiar and unfamiliar words.
The initial aim is to catch the attention of children and teenagers and then to move on to building their vocabulary and word knowledge over time. Success with the lower levels in our Word Club encourages and motivates people to take on the challenges of the higher levels. 

What are the four steps in the Building Word Awareness process?

Step 1. Tells the description of the word – noun, adjective, adverb and so on. This assists in building awareness of the difference between words and using words in their proper context.
Step 2. Tells the first letter, and how many letters the word contains. This helps to focus the mental search to within a specific range. It sets parameters and in the process a lot of other words are examined and recalled from memory.
Step 3. Tells the meaning of the word and in this part of the process, wordpower is increased and a deeper understanding of words is developed. You must now guess the word.
Step 4. Spell the word - the final step. Knowing how many letters in the word assists in the pupil arriving at the correct spelling.

What are the main objectives of Tell & Spell?

The two main objectives of the series are to build vocabulary build vocabularyand improve spelling ability. The Building Word Awareness concept allows these objectives to be achieved in a fun and entertaining atmosphere where people are eager to engage and enjoy participating. It is also a very effective way to exercise your brain and use problem solving strategies while learning English.

Who can benefit from Tell & Spell?

There are 6 graded levels in the online Word Club, providing word challenges for children (as young as 6 years), teenagers and adults.

Who are the authors ?

BERGUS is an educational company based in the county of Cork, Ireland. Bergus Educational is run by father and daughter team Gus and Jennifer Cahill. Jennifer Cahill studied Speech and Language Therapy in University College Cork and upon graduating in 2007 became involved in developing the Tell & Spell resources. Jennifer currently works as a Speech and Language Therapist within the educational/ public sector. She also runs a private practice in Cork for clients from 18 months up to 12 years. Jennifer emphasizes the importance of good language skills on a daily basis to clients, families and school staff.

Gus Cahill was undertaking a B.A. in Psychology in the 1990s and began working on developing an entertaining but effective way to assist children in improving their vocabulary and spelling ability. Feeling that ‘rote learning’ of spelling lists was limiting the potential for children to fully engage in the language learning process, he  published his first series of Tell & Spell as a set of word cards. The reaction from schools to the Tell & Spell word cards was extremely positive. The most common feedback from teachers and parents was the eagerness of the children to get started once introduced to the concept. It continues to capture their attention and imagination and they engage with enthusiasm every time.

The Tell & Spell website was developed in 2010 and has a word bank of 2,000 words across 6 levels of difficulty. Children, teenagers and adults will find word challenges to test and improve vocabulary and spelling.


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