video introduction to personal best spelling VIDEO introduction to Personal Best Spelling

Adult spelling user feedback

Personal Best Spelling and our other learning systems are being used all over the world. Here are some of the latest additions to the many adult and workplace literacy tutors, adult learners, colleges, universities, companies and government departments where Old Way/New Way® is improving learning and performance in spelling.

"It's like a teacher I never had."

"I left school at 15 not knowing how to spell simple words like 'any', 'there', 'their', 'dancing', 'colour', 'become', 'because', 'believe', 'open', 'once', 'days of the week or month'. Since I’ve been working with Personal Best Spelling™ improvement in my spelling has been unbelievable. At 47 years old I thought I was just thick as two planks. Not the case. I have a learning brain and I am enjoying it. It's like a teacher I never had."

Jonathan immediately experienced success

"Many tutors working in adult literacy programmes are often faced with learners who are showing limited progress despite everyone's best efforts .... In many cases, despite years of learning and the exposure to a variety of different tutors, discouragement slowly begins to pervade the effort, as nothing appears to work .... This was the case of Jonathan, a mature learner in Galway when Frank Monaghan, a literacy organiser in Galway, Ireland, introduced him to the Old Way/New Way® technique. Following a few brief workshops with Jonathan he was immediately experiencing success and able to self-correct. Jonathan is now able to remember the spelling of words months after being learned, which previously would have been forgotten in hours. More importantly it shifts the locus of control to himself so that with very little help from a tutor he can work on his own spellings allowing him to focus on writing poetry which he enjoys so much. It is with a degree of pleasure that Frank, through the evidence of the learner Jonathan, recommends the Old Way/New Way® system to other literacy programmes."

"I would recommend the program highly" (Department of Education)

In 1985 the Commonwealth Department of Education employed the services of Personal Best Academy on behalf of several Aboriginal students. In a letter of referral dated February 5, 1986, the Education Officer reported that,

"Most of the cases were with secondary level students where the intervention techniques with English and mathematics problems proved most beneficial to all the students. Further to this, the techniques proved remarkable in the case of a young adult who had previously been struggling to hold a position in the Public Service. This young person has now assumed increasingly more difficult and complicated tasks and aspires to permanent employment and promotion. I would recommend the programme highly on the results I have seen in only one year."

This adult spelling program

  1. Transformed many poor spellers into proficient, confident spellers when all other methods failed.
  2. Is a genuine adult learning tool for spelling, not just another children's computer game dressed up as educational software.
  3. Does not insult the adult learner's intelligence.
  4. Knows how your brain learns, so it works with you, not against you.
  5. Identifies your bad spelling habits (habit pattern errors) and quickly corrects them, once and for all.
  6. Helps you learn and remember your words from one day to the next.
  7. Is being used by adult and workplace literacy tutors, adult learners, medical practitioners, police officers, colleges, universities, companies and government departments to improve their spelling.
  8. Tests your spelling and tracks your progress.
  9. Uses proven learning methods endorsed by Australian education departments.
  10. Is the only spelling tutor that uses Old Way/New Way®, an effective research-based and user-friendly learning method.
  11. Uses an improved version of Look Say Cover Write Check, the old standby method for learning spelling.
  12. Hundreds of editable word lists in both U.S. English and U.K./Oz English are available at a modest cost, plus you can create and edit your own lists.
  13. Requires Windows operating systems (no Mac version)
  14. Is available as an affordable software program downloaded or as a low-cost one-page, self contained, multiple-user, re-usable, printable spelling tutor.


Source Flickr dot com Engineroom Blog

Personal Best Spelling is three spelling programs in one, so you can Learn New Words, Test Your Spelling and Correct Bad Spelling Habits.

1. Adult Spelling—Learn New Words

This helps you learn new words quickly so that you remember them better. It uses a modified form of the widely used and recommended method of learning spelling called Look Say Cover Write Check. Practice or drill is built into the program in a special way to improve your learning and memory.

You can create your own word lists, use the inbuilt lists or use a wide range of ready-made special purpose word lists that you can download from this web site. Ready-made word lists include lists of commonly misspelled words, words that cause special difficulty to adult learners and other useful lists.

You can learn sentence structure using the special contextual learning feature that allows you to enter more than just one word at a time. Foreign language learning is also possible using this feature because you can learn words in their proper context.

You can also learn specialised occupational vocabularies.

2. Adult Spelling—Spell Tester

You can test your spelling of previously learned words. A special feature is that the program remembers any persistent errors you make. If the error is consistent , i.e., you spell it incorrectly in the same way, the program recognises that you have developed a learned error and it automatically saves these errors in a separate word list for special treatment and correction.

3. Adult Spelling—Quickly Correct Bad Spelling Habits

The program uses a new learning method called Old Way/New Way®. With Old Way/New Way® you can correct persistent, learned and habitual errors. You can also, once and for all, learn to spell those tricky words that you are uncertain about and often have to look up before you use them.

Homonyms, words like "their" and "there", that sound the same but have different meanings, often create confusion but this can be readily resolved by placing the word in context when using Old Way/New Way®.

Old Way/New Way® is a new user-friendly and truly effective method for changing incorrect learning to the correct version and for eliminating uncertainty.

Personal Best Spelling is especially licensed to use Old Way/New Way®. The learning advantages that Old Way/New Way® gives you and its other special benefits are all described and explained in this web site.


Sorce flickr dot com Aztec West

Endorsed by Education Network Australia

Old Way/New Way® Learning is a quality endorsed resource for adult education and higher education.

Computer Corner review of Personal Best Spelling by Bill Gillespie, school Principal

".... This program takes a no nonsense approach to the teaching of spelling... This is not a game dressed up as educational software.... One advantage of this approach is that it can correct persistent, learned and habitual spelling errors... It is worthwhile visiting the web site just to read the information on the Old Way/New Way® approach to learning." Education: Journal of the New South Wales Teachers Federation.

The Way Ahead: Old Way/New Way® and Mediational Learning

Classroom. Issue 7, 2000, pages 12 - 13. Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd.
This article describes how Old Way/New Way® is used to improve spelling.

ZDNet Software Library review, 17 December 1998

Personal Best Spelling received a four star rating and was the Editor's Pick.

"Learn new words and correct problem spelling with Personal Best Spelling. Using an innovative and progressive method, this program encourages you to say the word, asks you to type it several times and tracks your problem areas. Three modules include learning new words, testing and correcting problems or habitual errors. The error correction uses a psychological approach by having you analyze what it is that you do wrong and repeatedly spell it the wrong way and then the correct way. You're asked to state what you've been doing wrong, typing in this statement and then correcting the spelling several times. Two word lists are available to work with in the demo version and registered users will be able to input their own lists. Personal Best Spelling requires dedication and time, but its effective methods are sure to improve your spelling."

Mediational Learning: Old Habits No Longer Die Hard

By Dr Paul Baxter. Write On: Queensland Council For Adult Literacy Newsletter. Volume 18, No. 1, September 2000, pages 10 - 15. Discusses the theoretical background to Mediational Learning (a derivative of Old Way/New Way®) and its application to literacy teaching. Contains 32 references to research journal articles and links to other Old Way/New Way® web sites.

You can also read all the scientific publications on the Old Way/New Way® learning method in our annotated bibliography.

Word lists

Unregistered, the program contains two word lists for demonstration purposes.

Registered users can purchase and download one or more of the following word lists, as well as create their own word lists.

These are the currently available lists contained in a single file you can purchase for AUD$3:

  • Commonly misspelled words (demons).
  • Most common words in reading.
  • Most common nouns in reading.
  • Core of words that people should be able to spell on sight, without sounding.
  • Most common words that cover about three-quarters of adult reading.

All the above word lists are available in one file, in U.S. English or U.K./Oz English.

The file containing the entire set of word lists is delivered as an attachment to an email we will send you after you place your order. To install the word lists, right-click on the email attachment named or, select Save As and save it to your Downloads folder. Then, start the spelling program, click Import, navigate to the Downloads folder to select your file and click Open. Screen shots showing these steps in greater detail can be found here.


Software version

Personal Best Spelling V2 for Adult Learners is provided as a downloadable self-installing software package for Windows PC, for $5.

Print version—one page printable, multiple use spelling lesson

For those who don't want to use a computer but still want to benefit from the Old Way/New Way® learning method and improve their spelling, Personal Best Spelling is available as a one-page, self-contained, individualised, printed, multiple use spelling tutor for adult learners and adult literacy teachers, from $3. Printable spelling lesson details.

Orders (Windows PC only)

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