Invitations to read, write, spell

In much the same way a set of tiles on the fridge can quietly alleviate fraction woes, a set of Bananagrams* tiles can introduce a lightness to the realm of spelling, writing, and reading for kids who are timid about any or all.  There are many ways to use these and other letter tiles beyond the rules that come with the game.  (Bananagrams is like Scrabble, but without the turn-taking and the points.  It can be played competitively or not.  According to the rules of the competitive game, players work on their own crossword array while others work on theirs so it’s easy to level the playing field when players have highly divergent skill levels.)

Here are a few ways to use the tiles (all of which I’ve seen enjoyed by kids at one point or another):

• Arrange groups of letters in funny sayings or family in-jokes on a shelf or ledge somewhere.

• Leave notes written in tiles.

• Spell nonsense words or extremely long or short sentences.

When we use something like letter tiles as an instrument of connection between people, we offer kids an appealing invitation into the realm of words.  There’s no pressure to GET anything, just an example of what’s available in participating.  It’s the kind of invitation that’s possible for kids to accept on its own merit, independent of shame or fear of failure or, probably most salient of all, disappointing us.

*The tiles from an old Scrabble game can do the same trick, or any other game with letter tiles.  I will say, however, that the combination of the tactilely pleasant Bananagrams tiles and the zippered cloth banana that houses them has a certain allure.


One Response

  1. You have just given me a great idea. Thanks.


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