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National Editorials & Columns

Playing board games provide literacy skills

Some people enjoy board games and some don’t. Most board games can exist only if language is present. Have you ever considered the value of many board games available today? 

They offer an opportunity to build not only family bonding, but games build thinking skills and develop literacy background. A literate household usually owns a variety of board games. They not only own them, but the family members play these games together and with friends.

Board games such as: Junior Scrabble; Scrabble; TriBond; Clue; Spill and Spell; Word Yahtzee; Monopoly; Password; The Ungame; Reunion; Trivia; various mystery games, and others are a fun way to add to our own general knowledge and cause us to look at things differently.

Part of being truly literate is to reason, see things in different perspectives, and be flexible in our thinking. Board games give us practice in all these skills and more.

All board games give us an opportunity to read and follow directions, to reason, etc. When we share with family members, games enrich our knowledge of each other, the world, and the written word.

Games also allow us to develop better listening skills (interacting with what is said). Simple things like asking someone to repeat instructions or asking someone to repeat word for word what you say develops those skills. 

You can write down the words of a song from a radio broadcast, or CD. After listening and watching a television show explain what happened in the show. Compare how you see things differently.

Games that build outlining skills are good too. These show relationships of important details to secondary details. It can be as simple as writing down the main ideas of a television show or game and list underneath important details. Also, compare the main ideas of one show versus another.

Word games, wuzzles, frame games, etc. are very effective for both learning and memorizing. A few more mnemonics to help you remember: mental imagery is creating a mental image (picture) of the items you want to remember, again the sillier the better.

Make mental videos of a scene you need to remember — moving pictures in your mind. For example: a verb holds hands with a noun to form a sentence.

Recording information helps you because repetition and overlearning are essential and the more you involve the senses the more you are likely to remember.

Envision hundreds or thousands of an item in your image. In order not to forget to pick up diapers for the baby at the store, I visualize a hundred babies holding out a diaper.  Diagrams, timelines, graphs, etc. are all visuals to help us understand and remember essential information.

Humor helps retain information. Silly phrases and songs make wonderful mnemonic devices.

A baker’s dozen equals thirteen because a centipede needed more legs to get over the hill. Remember the planets in the order of their distance from the sun with, “Make Very Everlasting Memory; Just Stay Up Nights, Practicing.”

I encourage you to keep reading biographies. They are considered non-fiction because they are basically true, but to make better flow fillers based on truth are added. 

If we write about ourselves we tell the truth, but we have to pick and choose what to tell or it gets mighty long and probably boring. So read some more biographies about Hispanic and Latino contributions.

Keep reading and learning.

Until next week — Christine Pauley

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