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Category: Spelling

Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Family And Friends

It’s that time of the year again! Are you ready to do your holiday shopping for your friends, relatives, and loved ones?

“Gift cards for everyone would be an excellent idea,” you might think. Everyone gets to buy what they want from a brand they love, right? But a gift card implies that you haven’t put much thought into the gift – or the person you’re giving that gift to. Buying a gift card might say, “I was too lazy to even bother look for a gift, so here’s some free money. Oh, and Merry Christmas!” This is not the true meaning of a gift. Gift giving is about taking the time and effort to make a meaningful, thoughtful gift to a loved one.

A Book

For those friends and family members who love curling up in their book nest with a cup of tea, books make an easy but entirely appropriate gift. Whether you choose a New York Times best-seller or a classic title is entirely up to the recipient’s taste, so think about what you’ve seen them reading before you buy.

The Gift of Better Orthography

Do you have a colleague who is getting a bad reputation for their misspelled memos? Give them a helping hand with a gift of spelling software like Ultimate Spelling™. No more embarrassing misspellings in emails, reports, and PowerPoint presentations  – you coworker will be a friend for life.

A Rich(er) Vocabulary

Communication is a vital part of daily life. So for children and young adults whose vocabulary could use a little push, why not offer them Ultimate Vocabulary™ by eReflect? This software will allow them to expand and make their vocabulary richer and more relevant and will eventually help them become better communicators, negotiators, and writers. This is a good gift for someone about to graduate from school because it will help them get the vocabulary they need to succeed in the job market.

Pro Keyboarding Skills

Do you know someone who is struggling with modern technology? Maybe they can’t figure out how to video chat with you on Hangouts, or they take forever to reply to your Facebook messages because their typing skills are poor to non-existent. Ultimate Typing™ would be the perfect gift for that person, because it will help them “level up” their keyboarding skills in no time. Of course, that might mean you’ll be getting texts and messages from them more often, but you can handle that, right?

A Visit

Sometimes a gift doesn’t have to be something tangible. Pay a visit to your grandmother, have lunch with a friend from college, or invite someone you haven’t seen in years to your Christmas party. The gift of kindness and love are truly priceless!

An Extravagant Pampering Gift

A pampering, extravagant gift is always appropriate for those special people in your life. Your hard-working mother, your significant other, your best friend – no matter who that person, do your homework and offer them a gift they will be raving about for weeks to come. It could be a spa session, a two-day mini trip, or anything the person you have in mind will fancy.

Gourmet Pleasures For the Foodies

From artisanal jams made with vodka to one-of-a-kind tea blends and limited-edition vintage wines, offer your foodie friends a mouthwatering experience they can Instagram to their heart’s content.

Whether you choose to get gifts that expand your friends’ career options or their waistlines is up to you! There are plenty of compelling gift ideas to choose from. Don’t go for run-of-the-mill, uninspiring gift cards. Instead, offer a thoughtful gift and get the joy of seeing faces lit up with excitement when they unwrap them come Christmas.


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Important American And British Spelling Differences You Should Know

You may already know that the word “pants” means something else entirely in British English (hint: it doesn’t mean “trousers”), but do you know about the words that both British and American English speakers use, yet spell differently?

A basic rule of the thumb that covers these words is that American English spelling tends to be simplified and pronunciation-based. While British English favors the spelling of words as they originally appeared in the language they’ve been borrowed from – for instance, the word “cheque” – American English spellers generally write the word as they sound it out: “check.”

Writers, exchange students, and businessmen and businesswomen need to be aware of these spelling differences when dealing with people in Britain and the US, because using the proper spelling for each country helps avoid confusion, and also lends that touch of professionalism that marks a true global citizen.

Here are the main spelling differences between American and British spelling of English words.

-er/re

Words that end in –re in Britain often have those two letters reversed when spelled in American English. Here are some examples:

British English

centre, fibre, litre, theatre

American English

center, fiber, liter, theater

-nse/nce

While the British use the –nce ending, Americans generally prefer –nse.

American English

defense, license, offense, pretense

British English

defence, licence, offence, pretence

-ize/ise

American English uses the –ize spelling at the end of words, and while some people in Britain accept that as a valid spelling, you’ll usually see those same words spelled with the  –ise ending instead.

British English

apologise, organise, recognise

American English

apologize, organize, recognize

-or/-our

In British English, the preferred spelling of words ending in –our is not maintained in American English; in the United States, the “u” is dropped from the word.

American English

behavior, color, humor, labor, neighbor, flavor

British English

behaviour, colour, humour, labour, neighbour, flavour

Double vowels “ae” and “oe”

While the British retain the more complex spelling of words with Greek or Latin roots, using the orthodox spelling that was established when those words were brought into the English language as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries, the Americans, as usual, like their terminology simplified.

American English

leukemia

maneuver

estrogen

pediatric

British English

leukaemia

manoeuvre

oestrogen

paediatric

Words ending in a vowel plus –l

While Americans have dropped the double “l” when adding suffixes to verbs that end in the letter “l” the British still generally use the two-“l” approach to their spelling.

American English

traveling

traveled

traveler

fueled

fueling

British English

travelling

travelled

traveller

fuelled

fuelling

The rules can be confusing, especially for people who are learning English as a second language. Which system you choose often depends on where you’re learning English. Obviously, if you’re learning English in the United States, you will be taught that orthography, but if you are learning English in India, you will generally be taught the British spelling. Wherever you are, keep in mind that more often than not, the American spelling of words is a simplified version that is closer to how a word sounds rather how it was spelled in the language it has been borrowed from.

Knowing the spelling rules and differences will help you learn the spelling exceptions, too. For instance, archaeology is a spelling that’s used by English teachers and scientists in both American and British universities. Keep digging around, and you’ll find more exceptions – and that’s a hard and fast rule.

Cross-posted on the Ultimate Spelling blog.


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How To Maximize Your Time Playing Indoor Activities

Spring showers ruined your outdoor activities once again? Many parents dread rainy days because there’s not much room for creativity and play. Children easily get bored and distractions get into the way of learning – especially when the initial plan was to play tag in the yard and then go for a swim.

However, indoor activities can help your child learn new things and master essential skills. Indoor time doesn’t necessarily mean online games time. You can use technology in ways that are educational and constructive.

Vocabulary Improvement

Vocabulary is one aspect of language we never truly master. You can learn a new word every day and still have thousands of new words left to learn by the time you’re fifty. Why not invest in a vocabulary improvement software and play vocabulary games to improve the entire family’s vocabulary? People of all ages will benefit from adding new words to their lexicon.

A vocabulary exercise sharpens a child’s language skills and gives them new words and concepts to communicate with.

Spelling Improvement

Your child’s teacher might be doing an excellent job teaching students how to spell, but the true secret to spelling mastery is to learn to love spelling. Half the children in any given class probably hate spelling exercises, and most of the rest are generally indifferent. To get children interested in spelling the activities you engage them in must be fun. Did I say fun? I meant SUPER FUN.

Again, this is where a spelling program or website could come in handy. Create a two-hour spelling session with 3 to 5 brain breaks in between and play spelling games and other fun-based spelling activities like a spelling bee stand-off!

Keyboarding

While most online games don’t really help children learn to type, it’s a good idea to think of touch typing as a fun indoor activity that will entertain and educate at the same time.

Touch typing is crucial for your child’s academic performance this year, and will be needed until they graduate from college – and beyond. As technology becomes more entwined in every aspect of our lives, skills like keyboarding become the norm. The earlier your child learns to touch type the better off they will be.

Use indoor time to engage with a skill your child will benefit from throughout their entire life by helping them enhance their typing skills. The great thing is that keyboarding is one skill you can have a lot of fun with when practicing. In fact, you don’t even have to structure a keyboarding lesson as a lesson. After your child has learned the fundamentals, the entire learning practice can take place through typing games!

Reading Improvement

Reading has been touted as the key ingredient for personal success. Warren Buffet, the well known success maven, has testified to this, asserting that all he does all day is read in his office.

Unfortunately, cultivating a love for reading and learning in children can be a real challenge for teachers and parents. The secret is to make reading fun and effective.

What makes students dislike reading is often their lack of good reading skills. More often than not, they find reading boring because of bad reading habits, such as subvocalization and regression.

If children were to get rid of these reading-sabotaging habits then their reading speed would improve and they could effortlessly get through lots of reading material in less time.

Speed reading is more than the goal, it’s also a means to an end. When a student is a speed reader this further motivates them to study and learn more things. Essentially, a child enters a self-motivating circle of self-education and progress through the simple act of eradicating bad reading habits and improving their reading speed.

Indoor activity time shouldn’t be limited to sterile, uninspiring entertainment and passive pastimes like video games. Technology has spread out into the realm of education, and it is a parent’s duty to instill in their children a predilection for learning and self-development.

There are many online resources available where parents can find constructive, age-appropriate activities for their children. Here are some suggestions:

DiscoveryEducation.com,

PrimaryResources.co.uk

FamilyEducation.com

topmarks.co.uk.

Smarttutor.com

Raz-kids.com

Scholastic for Parents

These free, quality resources for parents will give you many ideas for learning activities and games for children from kindergarten up to 12th grade. For a more focused and structured learning experience on a particular skill, it’s wise to invest in the appropriate software. For instance, if you want to improve your child’s vocabulary you should consider getting a vocabulary program like Ultimate Vocabulary™.

 

Cross-posted on the Ultimate Vocabulary blog.

Why Writing Skills Need To Be Perfected

Can’t average writing skills meet your needs in most situations? I’m afraid the answer is “no.” If you want to move ahead in your career and personal life you need above-average writing skills.

There’s more to writing than you might think

Writing and its associated skills form a complex network of competency that rests upon many other important abilities. To be a competent writer, you need to have mastered spelling and proper grammar usage, you need to have a rich and deep vocabulary, and you must have the ability to express yourself with clarity and eloquence.

What this means is that good writing skills will be the proof of your skills in many other areas as well. You will come across as a smart, competent person — a prerequisite for any job on today’s competitive market. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s no better self-promotion tool than impeccable writing skills.

Your writing is a reflection of who you are

Even if your job doesn’t require a lot of day to day writing, whenever you’re required to write something, whether that’s an email or even a simple text message, people will still judge your intelligence and competence based on your writing.

While it may sound condescending and presumptuous to judge a person solely on their writing skills, it happens. People use the written word to see how a person thinks, what their values are, and what principles and ethics their lives are governed by.

Great writing skills help you construct and project a competent, intelligent, and persuasive personal brand. Bad writing skills will more likely cost you a shot at better career prospects.

The written word is supreme

Most office-based jobs require that you master written communication skills. In fact, most formal communication in companies is through the written word. Government proceedings, legal documents, and contracts are not orally communicated, they’re always expressed through formal writing.

Everything worthwhile and binding is in written form so it’s crucial that you’ve mastered writing skills by the time you start your career. In fact, the earlier you learn these skills, the better, since they will help you get the education you need to succeed in that career. You need to be able to write and communicate in a variety of contexts — a Q3 report is not the same as writing a grant proposal— but also be able to understand and process formal language content and avoid any misunderstandings and errors.

Read voraciously to improve your vocabulary, and when you are writing, try keeping your sentences short and simple even when using that advanced vocabulary. Follow formal style and format rules to get the most professional end result, and always spell-check and proofread your content. Writing skills are valuable, and worth the effort they take to acquire them.

10 Useful Websites For A Smarter You

Do you think you know everything? If you answered “yes,” then you can stop reading! But if like most people you answered “no,” here are 10 websites you should bookmark.

These websites are brimming with fascinating facts, motivating articles to improve your skills, and lots of ideas on how to channel your creativity and innovative thinking into your work and personal life. Yes, it’s high time you stopped looking at cat videos all day long.

Freerice

How often do you get a chance to improve upon a crucial life skill and at the same time contribute to society as a whole? Freerice lets you have your cake and eat it too. Freerice lets you improve your vocabulary, and for each correct answer you get, the company donates 10 rice grains through the World Food Programme. Cool, right?

Gibbon

Forget YouTube hits playlists. Gibbon is the self-learning playlist many people swear by. With Gibbon you can collect various articles, videos, and other types of content under a particular theme or category. Think of it as the Pinterest for self-improvement. You can learn virtually anything under the sun, from how to code to getting into the basics of 3D printing.

Lumosity

Ever think your memory could use a boost? Lumosity is the site you want to head to. It’s a science-based game website that exercises your brain. From memory and verbal fluency to spatial skills and attention performance, Lumosity ensures you don’t lose your edge.

Khan Academy

This is your chance to master a subject you were too sleepy to wake up in college in order to attend. Khan Academy offers a multitude of courses, including Math, Science, Computing and Microeconomics, just to name a few.

Nerd’s Fitness

A CrossFit junkie goes to the gym, but where does a nerd go to? Nerd’s Fitness. This website is for the geek in every one of us. There’s no such thing as being too devoted about your body and your health,  and that’s why Nerd’s Fitness exists. It gives you informative articles and how-to’s on getting fitter and stronger – and always from a nerdy viewpoint. Their number one rule: We don’t care where you’re coming from, only where you’re going.

Information is Beautiful

This website uses the magic of visuals to represent interesting information. We must agree, information never looked so appealing before. You can get data visualized on everything, from who rules the world,to figuring out the potential tax revenue if drugs were legally sold.

Elite Daily

Self-proclaimed as “The Voice of Generation Y,” Elite Daily should be your browser home page. You can read anything about and for Generation Y, or find great tips on how to improve your skills and master new qualifications. Plenty of cute, inspirational content is always available too.

TED

Attending star-studded seminars doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. TED brings them all to you for free. TED shares  the best stories and ventures right on your screen; you can watch inspiring videos on initiatives that seek to change our thinking, our world, and our future.

Unplug the TV

This website lets you shun the urge to sit on your couch passively watching whatever’s on TV. “Unplug the TV” recommends interesting videos you can seek out and watch on your computer or device. Once you start using these links, we can confidently say there will be no more NCIS reruns for you!

The World FactBook

Get mind-blowing facts about your own and other countries, and you will have ample conversation starters for the next office cocktail party!

Spelling Software Examined By Various Software Reviewers

Are you a good speller? If you said “yes” then you’re already far ahead of the crowd – these days, not many people are confident or proud of their spelling skills. Heavy users of texting abbreviations and internet lingo in particular often feel their spelling skills have become somewhat rusty.

That’s why there’s a definite shift towards the use of spelling software, programs that help people improve their current skills, or learn how to spell starting with the basics.

Ultimate Spelling™ is one such spelling improvement solution that helps people master this essential skill. A variety of impartial reviews on Ultimate Spelling™ make it immediately evident that Ultimate Spelling™ can help people master orthography in little time and with minimum effort.

Ultimate Spelling™ receives 2014 Excellence Award by TopTenReviews

TopTenReviews is an opinion leader in software reviews, trusted by thousands of readers worldwide. Ultimate Spelling™ along with 8 other spelling improvement software went under rigorous scrutiny by the TopTenReviews editors. The evaluations culminated with the release of the TopTenReviews rankings and awards.

eReflect’s Ultimate Spelling™ was awarded the top place along with the company’s Gold Award and the 2014 Award of Excellence. Ultimate Spelling™’s competition made do with the second and third places, confirming the effectiveness of Ultimate Spelling™ in improving people’s orthography quickly and effortlessly.

The combination of cutting-edge tools, a personalized learning approach, and a dictionary-size word database were some of the reasons why Ultimate Spelling™ was awarded the TopTenReviews 2014 Excellence award. The editors at TopTenReviews gave Ultimate Spelling™ a score of 9.88, with a 10/10 rating for its progress tracking report technology and range of features.

Vocabulary learning site heaps praise on Ultimate Spelling™ for its effectiveness

While TopTenReviews was conferring excellence awards to the spelling improvement software by eReflect, the editors at Vocabulary.co.il (part of the Vkids company) were preparing their own review of the software.

As the editors note in their introduction, text-speak has made many people sloppy language users and this can have its toll on how efficiently people use language, in speech as well as in writing.

To offset bad spelling skills and habits, Vocabulary.co.il suggests trying Ultimate Spelling™. Their review of Ultimate Spelling™ ends with this quote: “Whichever way you look at it, Ultimate Spelling is learning to spell made very simple, and does exactly what it says on the packet.”

The Ultimate Spelling™ reviewers analysed the program’s features and integrated technology, focusing on its progress tracking tool and its all-encompassing approach to learning spelling, one that caters to young spellers as well as adults.

Its comprehensiveness and rigorous no-nonsense approach to spelling mastery are two other features of the Ultimate Spelling™ the review praised. In fact, Vocabulary.co.il made a point to recommend using Ultimate Spelling™ for learning how to spell, in view of its breadth of activities and structured yet customizable learning experience.

What seems to have impressed many reviewers of Ultimate Spelling™, Vocabulary.co.il included, is the sheer size of its word database (over 142,000 words, more than any other software reviewed). What seems to be even more impressive to most reviewers is the program’s in-depth approach to word mastery.

The program doesn’t simply teach the spelling of a word and stop there. It allows the learner to truly master a word by offering more information about the word, not just its spelling. The user is provided a chance to learn the word’s pronunciation and its definition(s), and the system even offers multiple usage examples for each word so that the learner can confidently and correctly use the words they’re learning to spell.

Cross-posted on the Spelling Software blog.


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