Scrabble spells out fun learning for SAISD wordsmiths

Scrabble spells out fun learning for SAISD wordsmiths


Students at three San Antonio Independent School District campuses are building their vocabularies, sharpening their strategic thinking and reinforcing math skills one letter at a time as members of their respective schools’ Scrabble Club.

Thanks to funding from the SAISD Foundation, librarians at Rogers and Wheatley middle schools and Hillcrest Elementary School have launched a club dedicated to the word game. Last year, Rogers Middle School became the first to launch the club, with librarian Jennifer Zinn heading up the effort.

“Scrabble helps with spelling, vocabulary, math, spatial reasoning, logic, strategic thinking and developing relationship and social skills,” Zinn said. “In addition, it promotes healthy competition (learning to win and lose graciously), and studies have shown that it can help improve memory and concentration.”

With funding from the Foundation, nine additional schools are planning to launch Scrabble Clubs this year: Brewer, Smith and Storm elementary schools; Harris, Longfellow, Page, Rhodes and Whittier middle schools and Brackenridge High School. Also, Wheatley and Hillcrest will expand their clubs with additional foundation funding.

Zinn, an accomplished Scrabble player who participated in the National Scrabble Championship last summer in Las Vegas, saw how learning to play the game could benefit the students at Rogers. Last year, the game drew about 25 core players; the number of active players has about doubled this year, Zinn said. The club meets regularly on Mondays, and students also play before school and during lunch.

The first few Rogers meetings, Zinn said, involved teaching the basics: how to play, how to keep score and how to use available aids. Zinn also taught the students how to average their weekly scores and graph them so they could track their progress and come up with ways to boost their scores.

One Rogers Scrabble Club member, John Gonzalez, is becoming a formidable player, with 3,000 points earned so far and eight Bingo plays under his belt, meaning he used all seven tiles in a single play – no easy feat.

“I get to learn new words and get to have fun,” Gonzalez wrote in a survey about his club involvement.



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