Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bananagrams Everyday

We aim to play Bananagrams every day, five or six days a week is what we've been doing.
I feel it will help my son who does not normally see letters in his head start to see them as moveable objects. My older son is a visual thinker who sees pictoral images of items. When I hear a word, I see it spelled out with floating letters, spelled correctly, since I'm one of those "natural spellers".

While playing the game a person is forced to constantly think of new ways to arrange letters to make new and different words in order to use up all the letter tiles in their possession. In creating the words the player must think of right ways to spell the letters and in our family we also help each other by clarifiying how to correctly spell the words as we play the game (instead of waiting until the end to reveal they made a mistake and getting penalized and having to rework the whole thing).

My son with dyslexia symptoms finds this a difficult exercise which is still at a frustration point. He has been improving, moving from mostly three and four letter words breaking through to make larger words. He has a long way to go but he is on the right track.

One of the biggest challenges for me is letting go of already formed words to scrap it completely in order to make new larger words. I tend to want to hold onto the already finished words but I'm then left with reject letters that just can't be easily added on to the existing words to use them up. That's a strategy for failure.

A homeschool mom friend has been playing Bananagrams every day with her family for about four months, and it has helped her visual spatial learner child learn to spell. We'll see how it goes for my struggling speller.

As you can see from the below grid, my son is indeed moving away from three and four letter words. But, I didn't have the heart to tell him there is a "u" in ratatouille....


Tiny Apples said...

We just got Bananagrams for my 1st grader. He is a bit young for the full rules, but we are playing with 3 and 4 letter words. He is also a VSL (I strongly suspect) and a beginning reader. I'm glad to hear this could help. Thanks for posting!

Lacinda said...

Such a great game. My kids are still at the "chutes and ladders" stage, but I'm excited to get to play more complex games with them some day. I have bananagrams in the game closet just waiting for their spelling skills to get to where we can play it together.

Karen said...

Since you're using this to work on spelling, you might consider some "house" rules. We allow words that are sometimes outside of the Scrabble dictionaries. I find that what "foreign" words are allowed is very arbitrary in them. Also, I allow proper nouns - all of the tiles are upper case :) Besides, if my kids can spell a city or museum name, I'm all for it!

You might also try Quiddler.

Joyful Learner said...

Funny, I was just researching Bananagrams recently too! I've read that you can just use the Scrabble pieces but I have one many pieces does each player get?

ChristineMM said...

Hi everyone, I also tried using Scrabble pieces first. It was not working out. I think Bananagrams must have more vowels or something? I could not find a letter list online, an inventory list.

There are 144 titles total in Bananagrams.

The number of tiles depends on the number of players.
2-4: 21
5-6: 15
7 or more: 11

Some people play with two sets. I bought two sets so we could make harder words but we haven't done that yet.

I also believe Bananagrams makes a different game for younger kids.

The Cast said...

Cool game!

ChristineMM said...

Received from "Kat". I removed the spam ad links. I do not allow ads to run on my blog that I don't have an agreement with the company and that I'm not getting paid for.

"We love Bananagrams! The games can go pretty quick too, so you can fit them in just about anywhere in your day. :) Some people just buy two sets, but they make a double set as well...might be a little cheaper than buying two. The makers of the game also have games called Appletters and PairsinPears, both of which look just as fun! Great post, thanks for sharing! :) Katie Homeschooling and helping my visual spatial learner have fun with school and feel better about himself, one day at a time."

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

My dh and I enjoy playing thus, but I hadn't thought of letting my first grader play and limiting us to shorter words. We'll have to try that!

Legacy said...

So, it's been over a year since you posted this blog post. How is it going with the bananagrams and your visual spacial kid? My daughter really struggles with spelling (a picture person like your son) and I'm interested in your progress. We just pulled out bananagrams today to have fun quizzing on challenging spelling words from her list. We could play the game too but that doesn't reinforce the spelling words of the week...any thoughts on that?