WordWeb operates as a small icon at the bottom of your screen and can be used easily with a variety of text and word processing programs such as Microsoft Word. To check a word, highlight it on your screen, and then click on the WordWeb icon. The window will open to show the various definitions, as well as how the word functions as different parts of speech (nouns, verbs etc). It can provide a list of 'nearest word' (words closest in spelling to that chosen), synonyms and antonyms and a link directly to relevant Wikipedia pages and other resources. You can also 'hear' the word pronounced, a huge bonus when a student encounters a word they are unfamilar with.
In addition, WordWeb is handy because it allows users to access the information which is relevant to them in a timely manner, without undue disruption. Looking up a word is fast and simple, and so the flow of writing can continue uninterrupted. Being able to link to Wikipedia pages in particular also encourages students to learn about and experiment with words and expressions as they are working, rather than reverting to the same old words they always use.
The thesaurus function also helps students expand their vocabulary the more they use it, and can be a great asset for helping older elementary students prepare for the more stringent writing assignments they will soon be facing in the higher grades.
When choosing a spelling software tool, especially for younger students, it needs to be easy for them to operate on their own, and WordWeb gets an A for ease of use. The 'nearest word' list function is especially useful as it means students can self-correct their work easily, even when they have significantly misspelled the word, though this feature works better with the bundled add-ons. (More on that in the 'negative' section below.)
Overall, the program works because it is so subtle, which is great for kids who struggle with their spelling and reading skills and need to constantly check and revise their work.