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Friday, June 4, 2010

Spelling bee fun: Ideas for playtime and literacy development

With this week’s focus on the televised drama that accompanies the Scripps National Spelling Bee, children might just get bitten by the spelling bug, as oftentimes, positive peer examples offer the best motivation.

What are the tools that you can offer your child to help them become friends with spelling and literacy?

It's no secret that Webster’s Third New International Dictionary Unabridged is a definitive resource and can be used when a child gets older and deeply into the process of being a wordsmith, but before that time there are ways that will spark interest in learning new words and provide great entertainment as well.

First and foremost in promoting a love of language, is reading. When books are read to a child, they not only serve as an educational and entertaining process, but they foster quality one-on-one time, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an actual cover-to-cover book or something you share off your iPad.

In addition to books, there are television programs that are ideal for introducing children to reading such as PBS KIDS Super Why! , which is perfect for the preschool set.

Online sites, such as Reading Rockets is also an excellent resource as it offers adult strategies along with activities and even lessons to help children with spelling and reading.

Products such as, Spelling Bee: Thinkmap’s Visual Thesaurus is ideal and fun for older children, plus you might discover that the whole family will enjoy using this interesting approach to finding words.

Last, but certainly not least, one of the most unique and primarily word-of-mouth promoted games, Bananagrams has taken the country by storm, and now it’s gone global with international editions.

As a word formation game, it is slightly similar to Scrabble but it is fast-paced, portable and almost addictive as you can play in groups or solo. The game has simple rules and is very affordable.

The video embedded at the end of this post, provided by Mastermind Toys gives you a good idea how much fun the game is to play.

Bannagrams was invented by the Nathanson family: Sandy, Rena, Aaron, Abe, and Ava, and at barely three years since creation, it has been honored by the Toy Industry Association as the 2009 Game of the Year – Best Game.

Don’t forget to tune in tonight for the live broadcast of the Championship Rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. CT on the ABC Television Network.

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