I was just shuffling the cards and dumping out the dice when a word-game geek said, “I like this game already!” Turn over the top category card in a stack of 80 and read it aloud. Then roll the number of dice indicated on the card, from one to four, and start your play. The player to shout out a word containing the letters on the dice–in any part of the word and in any order–wins that category card and play continues. We started with “Anything About Farms” and rolled R, O, C. “Acorns” was the first word yelled out but later we realized “corn” was a more fitting answer. Certainly there are entries that are a stretch, like “rock” although any good farmer knows he gets rocks in his fields! We were enjoying the category cards so much that we weren’t sure we wanted to play the “Any Word” category, which actually was just as challenging because we had to use the four letters: O, T, H, A. We almost gave up when a player shouted out, “thoracic.” Players showed different degrees of success according to their depth of vocabulary in a category. After a winning round I asked players for their successful strategies–thinking in blends, separating vowels, looking at possible endings like e, er, or pe, considering most common consonants on the dice that begin words –to see what skills were tapped in this game. Reading strategies and vocabulary are all strengthened as kids and adults enjoy this great game of quick wit and language learning!

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