Spelling is a topic my children don’t enjoy. Spelling lists, spelling tests, marked up pages, correcting the words they missed – they would just as soon not, and I would just as soon not put them through it. Spelling is a crucial life skill, however, and I’m determined to give my children a good start down their path of success, so we invented a new take on the game of Scrabble.
My children, at ages 10, 8, and 5, are fairly young to play the game as it was invented, so we do it the Pinkston way. I help all three children to create words, and our goal is two-fold: first, to teach them how to spell the words we’ve laid down on the board, and secondly, to teach them the meaning of the word and how to use it.
Because you never know what letters you’re going to draw, you can’t plan a curriculum around the game. It’s more of a take-it-as-it-comes experience, but that’s part of where the fun comes in. Last week, we spelled the word “loom,” and talked about the double meaning. 1. to hover over someone, and 2. the frame used in weaving. Imagine my surprise when just a few days later, we saw a show on TV about weaving, and I was able to show the children just what it was I had meant with my explanation during the game.
It’s fun to get Dad involved in this, too. Because of our different reading preferences, his everyday usage vocabulary is a little different from mine and he sees words that I don’t. As the children see the words spread out on the board in front of them, hear how they are said, and listen to the explanation of the meanings, it increases their vocabularies and their own comprehension. Fun and learning at the same time, with the whole family involved? It doesn’t get much better than that.