Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Book Chook Goes West or Literacy on the Go

Regular readers of my blog may have worked out that I am travelling right now. In fact, we have crossed Australia from the east coast to the west coast and we're currently in Perth, Western Australia. Blogging friends have requested an update on our journey, so that's what this will be. If you're thinking, "but what about literacy?" never fear. You can scroll down this page to the heading: Literacy on the Go, and avoid the 21st century equivalent of a boring slide night!

In case you’re interested, this is the route we took. We left Coffs Harbour NSW on October 1, and spent between 1 and 3 nights in: Gunnedah NSW, Narrandera NSW, Mildura Vic, Angaston SA, Port Augusta SA, Ceduna SA. Then we began to cross the Nullarbor, a virtually treeless plain, hundreds of kilometres wide. We stayed one night each at Eucla WA, Norseman WA, Merredin WA, York WA, until we arrived in Perth where we are taking a break from driving and wearing out shoe leather instead.

I made slideshows at both Animoto and Photopeach, but Blogger won't let me embed them for some reason. (I am blaming incompatibility with my ancient laptop and hinting that I need a new one!) But you can link below to see what is not a chronological record, but visual snippets of our trip, accompanied by Grieg's Morning Mood.

The Book Chook Goes West on PhotoPeach

One of the many highlights of our journey has been the opportunity to meet Rebecca Newman, editor of Alphabet Soup magazine, and her delightful daughter, Matilda. Rebecca knew I was interested in Kodaly and took me to see a wonderful music lesson based on his philosophy. I’ll give you some more details about this, including its online presence, soon.

From Perth, we go to Margaret River and the south-western corner of WA, then start for home. Meanwhile, let me tell you about a word game you can teach your kids and play in the car.

Literacy on the Go

My husband and I both love word games. When we’re travelling vast distances, we use these games to while away the time, and keep mentally alert. One of our favourites we call the word game. It is a little like Mastermind, but with no equipment.

One person, A, thinks of a five-letter word. A tells B the first letter of the word. B makes guesses at the word and finds out if letters are correct and in the correct place, correct but in the wrong place, or not correct at all. B gets five chances to guess the word.

Here’s an example:

A – My five letter word starts with D.

B – Is it drive?

A - It’s not drive. There are no correct letters.

B - Is it donut?

A – It’s not donut. The N is correct and in the right place. The U is correct but in the wrong place.

B – Is it dunny?

A – It’s not dunny. The U is correct and in the right place, the N is correct and in the right place.

B – Is it dunks?

A – Yes! That’s it. The word is dunks.

This game is much easier if you are not driving, and can use pencil and paper to keep a record. But doing it mentally is very good memory training! We tend to play for fun, but you can keep a running score if you want – the guesser gets 5 points for guessing the word first go, four for guessing on the second go, three for third, two for fourth, one for fifth, and none for missing the word in five guesses. Try four letter words with younger kids.

I hope you’ll give it a try. Here’s one to get you started: a five-letter word beginning with P. If you want to play, use comments or email me.

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