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Greetings from Snowy Minnesota!

I created a game that involves overcoming a fear of English print materials, involves healthy competition, organizing information, reading practice, and building vocabulary. My adult students loved it and even my pre-literate ones were reading basic sounds without even realizing it!

1. Obtain some subject-appropriate (but different) magazines that would be of interest to your class. Popular magazines, teen magazines, cooking, home magazines, etc.

2. Review each magazine and compile magzine-specific lists of 15-25 random items that they must "find." This is their "treasure."

3. Divide the class into two or more teams. Let them pick fun team names.

4. Before giving each team a list and a magazine, explain the game to them through a couple examples. Have a mock list and magazine and illustrate what they are about to do.

5. Do not explain the vocabulary words- you know your class level and can pick words that you have studied and need practice remembering and using. The words can be funny and creative, can be descriptions of people, adjectives and colors, rooms in a house, clothing, you name it!!! Don't explain the words- they shouldn't be too hard, but just challenging enough. Your mock demonstration should simply be to show them the game's process.

6. Each team should pre-determine a labeler, a cutter, and someone to mark off each word that is found. Everyone should look through the magazine together, but upon finding one of the pictures, one person should cut it out, one should label the picture with the right word, and the other should check off or cross out the word from the list. This promotes teamwork, organized communication, and gives all levels a role which they can perform.

5. Start the clock. Give the teams about 20 minutes to finish or until the first team completes all words on the list. You will witness a lot of laughter, discussion, and participation. Among adult learners, competition can be a wonderful motivator!!

6. Upon completion, the group must organize the words in the appropriate order written on the list. That involves someone reading the word and someone locating the picture (with the correct label) and placing it in order. This repeats the English word identification process.

7. Wait for the others to finish. Each group should then elect a reader and a presenter. The reader will read each word and the presenter will show the correct picture. There can be much discussion over whether or not the picture is a true representation of the listed word! If it is correct and it is labeled, they get a point. The team with the most correct pictures wins the round!

This game recycles key words over and over again. There is visual identification, writing and reading practice, presentation practice, and sound/letter identity. I witnessed one of my new readers madly sounding out the first letter of each word down the list until she found "h" for "hamburger." She was so proud of herself even though she couldn't read the entire word. She knew enough of the beginning word sound to find the word and then copy it correctly on the right picture. As someone who often was not elected for the reading roles, she was able to practice her new skill.

It's a wonderful learner-oriented, "time-out" kind of game. They are in complete control of the process, practice group communication, and team work.

Let me know how it works!

St. Paul, MN
[email protected]

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