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

Learning to spell

  1. This spelling program transformed many poor spellers into proficient, confident spellers when all other methods failed.
  2. It is a genuine learning tool for spelling, not just another computer game dressed up as educational software.
  3. It does not insult the learner's intelligence.
  4. The program knows how your brain learns, so it works with you, not against you.
  5. It is being used by adult and workplace literacy tutors, adult learners, medical practitioners, police officers, colleges, universities, companies, government departments, schools and early learning centres to improve spelling.
  6. It identifies bad spelling habits (habit pattern errors) and quickly corrects them, once and for all.
  7. It helps you learn and remember your words from one day to the next.
  8. The program tests your spelling and tracks your progress
  9. It uses proven learning methods endorsed by Australian education departments (USA spelling version also available)
  10. This is the only spelling tutor that uses Old Way/New Way®, an effective research-based and user-friendly learning method
  11. It 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. The program runs on modern Microsoft Windows operating systems, XP onwards
  14. It is available as an affordable Windows software program or as a low-cost one-page, self contained, multiple-user, re-usable, printable spelling tutor.

Spelling program user feedback


Lincoln gets ten out of ten every week

"Prior to Lincoln starting to use Personal Best Spelling™ he was getting, on average, only two out of ten words right in his weekly spelling test at school. Within one week of using Personal Best Spelling™, Lincoln got ten out of ten in his weekly spelling test and he has continued to get ten out of ten, each and every week."

It's like the 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."

Your program gave Marian confidence and method

"Your program gave Marian the confidence and the method of how to learn and remember her spelling words. This in turn greatly improved her reading ability. Marian's confidence in herself has helped her to believe in herself."

100% on his weekly tests

"After beginning to use the Personal Best Spelling™ program, my son has successfully gotten 100% results on his weekly tests. I have recommended your product to others and hope that they find the success that my son has."

The only tutor (including human) that has helped him

"I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much your program has helped our son. He is 11 and in the 5th grade. He has struggled with spelling since at least 3rd grade. Your program is the only tutor (including human) that has helped him."

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 .... This was the case of Jonathan, a mature learner in Galway, Ireland. Following a few brief Old Way/New Way® 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."

So much less stressful for teachers

"The greatest thing about Old Way/New Way® is the self-correction children do. It's such an amazing thing to say to a kid, 'Can you see any Old Ways? ... Now, can you do the New Way for me?' and then they select their Old Way and do the New Way all by themselves without me doing a thing except ask those two questions. Old Way/New Way® is so much less stressful for teachers. I no longer get frustrated when some children have so many errors to correct. The notion of a 'dumb child' disappears and instead you know that they simply have more resistant Old Ways."

We recommend it (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."


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

1. Learn 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. Test spelling—Spell Tester

You can test your spelling of previously learned words. A special feature is that the program remembers any 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. Correct spelling—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.

And you can read some typical spelling case studies where Old Way/New Way® has helped people of all ages become competent and confident spellers.


The school teachers, parents, adult literacy teachers, learning support tutors, and their students in these spelling program case studies tried many different spelling programs, mnemonics, and other spelling aids, including catch-up classes or personal tutoring, before they tried Personal Best Spelling™.

Using these conventional, and some not so conventional, methods of teaching spelling they found that children and adult learners still forgot the words they had learned from one day to the next.

Personal Best Spelling™ changed all this. Learners who used this program actually improved on spelling tests immediately after they started using the program; their vocabulary increased; they actually remembered the words they had learned the day , week or month before; their self confidence improved; their teacher's assessment of their learning ability changed and their outlook on learning became a lot more optimistic. This was empowering for both teachers and students.

These spelling program case notes should be read in conjunction with the spelling program's theoretical underpinning and the long history of successful research, workplace trials and independent evaluations to which the underlying learning methodology has been subjected. The sum total of this evidence will stand up to the closest scrutiny.

Endorsed by Education Network Australia

Old Way/New Way® Learning is used in Personal Best Spelling™ and is an Australian Education Network quality endorsed resource.

Old Way/New Way® is officially gazetted as an approved learning method by the South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services.

Five Star rating

Personal Best Spelling™ received the Five Star Rating at TUKIDS, the children's software section of the TUCOWS software library. The adult version was Editor's Choice in the ZDNET software library.

Five Star Rating for Personal Best Spelling

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 (version 1; old name for the program)

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

"Learn new words and correct problem spelling with Personal Best Speller. 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 Speller 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 spelling method bibliography.

Word lists

Personal Best Spelling™ users can purchase and use hundreds of word lists when the program is registered. Unregistered, the program contains two word lists for demonstration purposes only.

Instructions for registering the program and importing word lists are contained here.

There are hundreds of word lists for adults and for children; for U.S. and U.K./Oz spelling conventions; and for various professional groups like medical practitioners and police officers. New lists become available, from time to time.

For convenience, most word lists lists are organised into categories, e.g., nouns; specific areas of professional practice, e.g., neurology; words that typically cause spelling problems (demons); and so on.

The word list page contains more information.


Personal Best Spelling™ is the only spelling program licensed to use the Old Way/New Way® learning method. Extensive research and trials in schools and workplaces shows that Old Way/New Way® works equally well with adult learners and children. Personal Best Spelling™ therefore comes in three versions intended for specific user groups:

  • Professional version (for medical practitioners and police personnel, with more to come).
  • Adult learners.
  • Children of school age.

Each of these versions is available as software and in printable form.

Not just another educational computer game, Personal Best Spelling™ employs research-based learning methods yet it is very user friendly. The adult version, unlike most so-called adult spelling programs, does not insult your intelligence.

Read more about the Adult Spelling version of Personal Best Spelling™.

spelling box adult spellling


Read more about the Professional version of Personal Best Spelling™.spelling box professional version

Read more about the Child/school version of Personal Best Spelling™.spelling box child version


Printable 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 now available as a low cost one-page, self-contained, individualised, printable, multiple use spelling tutor for adult learners, children, teachers and parents from AU$3. If you decide after having used the print version that you want the software version, you can upgrade and only pay the difference. Spelling program printable version details.

Try before you buy and please check out the many spelling program features. You can download and try the demo version for free and then purchase the download.

Orders (Windows PC only)

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