Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Shannon’s Game

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11
Contributor:
Roger Smith

Competent spellers are good at recognizing common spelling patterns. This enables them to predict how any sound might be spelt because they know that there are only a limited number of options.

For example, if they hear an “o” sound, as in hope, they will consider -oa-; -oe-; or -o- followed, one consonant later, by the magic e:

  • boat
  • toe
  • cope

Shannon’s game helps to develop this kind of awareness. It’s similar to Hangman, except that the letters have to be guessed in sequence.

    • Start by writing the first letter of a word.
    • Then put down dashes to represent the other letters.
    • Allow ten guesses for the next letter. If there is no correct guess, put the letter in and go on to the next.
    • Continue until the whole word is completed.
    • So, for example:
    • q——-
      qu——
      que—–
      ques—-
      quest—
      questi–
      questio-
      question

Sometimes it helps to have the alphabet written out in front of the players.

As players become more competent they are able to succeed with far fewer guesses. The game provides an ideal basis for parents to discuss the possible choices at any particular stage.

This video shows Shannon’s game being played:

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