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ELT Game Corner

Welcome to my Game Corner. Here I introduce a game for you to use in your classes to help make English come alive.

April 01, 2004

My First Words Scrabble

myfirstwordsscrabble.jpg My First Words Scrabble is a thought-provoking game for elementary school students with an emphasis on learning new vocabulary and simple spelling principles. This unique game introduces the students to these basic English principles while enabling them to make their own decisions concerning word-building in an enjoyable and interesting way.

The cards to the game were developed in conjunction with a Montessori nursery school according to Montessori guidelines. The merits of the Montessori system with My First Words Scrabble means that the game is designed so that children not only touch English with their hands but also immediately know if they have chosen the right letter for any word on the cards because the shape and color of the background will guide the child. In other words, the teacher or the parent does not need to tell the children what to do; the game encourages the players to be proactive.

There are 15 spelling cards arranged in categories, such as school, home, farm, outside, long/short vowels, blends, etc. There are four levels of difficulty, so all students should start with the first level, which consists of the farm, school, outside and in my home cards. Players look at a picture on the spelling card and try to insert the color tile letters which only fit into the correct spelling sequence. Since all the tiles are color-coded and the spelling activities are self-correcting, the child can "discover" how to spell naturally and enjoyably.

After the child has accomplished this task, the teacher can then read the word, after which the child can repeat. The teacher can also ask the child, "Please spell CAT" or "How do you spell CAT?" and the child can look at the letters and spell the word for the teacher. With higher level students, or with small groups, the students can ask each other the questions.

The parent or teacher can select words from level one and review them in class lessons. Once they have been mastered, the children can move to the next level. With My First Words Scrabble, the students not only learn to read and spell the 60 most basic words in the English language but also learn basic phonics spelling principles in a natural and fun way. They can learn how to "sound out" words with the help of the parent or teacher.

Some of the words the children learn how to construct are as follows:

Animals: cat, hen, pig, fox

School: pen, bat, drum, six

Outside: sun, web, rod, frog

Kitchen: bun, milk, pot, jug

Body: foot, lips, back, hand

Transport: car, ship, van, bike

Short Vowels: tap, fan, leg, shed, van, zip, dog, sock, fork, cow, mug, bush

Long Vowels: bone, cake, pea, leaf, bowl, lion, gold, nose, beak

My First Words Scrabble is appropriate for small classes or private and semi-private lessons with young children. It is a novel game in that it empowers students to learn how to spell and read words independently with very little adult supervision.

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