MARQUETTE - A group of local kids has been playing weekly games of Scrabble, thanks to a new club at the Peter White Public Library.
The Scrabble club is a part of the library's Summer Reading Program and the exposure to Scrabble should help kids build their vocabularies, as well as their reading and writing abilities, according to Mary Schneeberger, the library's teen services specialist.
"It's related to reading because reading a lot would enhance your Scrabble playing," she said. "And this is a vocabulary builder that would carry over into your reading and writing."
Peter White Public Library Teen Services Specialist Mary Schneeberger plays Scrabble with Jon Alexander, 12, left, and Sean Hausmann, 12, both of Marquette, during the Summer Scrabble Club at the library on Wednesday. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
Alexander and Hausmann face off over the Scrabble board during the Summer Scrabble Club at the Peter White Public Library on Wednesday. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
Hausmann takes his turn, laying down a word. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
The game also offers children other learning opportunities. For example, Schneeberger feels kids will gain confidence in math, simply by adding word scores together in their heads during the course of a game.
The weekly club, which started last month and meets from 4 to 5:30 p.m. each Wednesday, is something of a pilot program.
A few months ago, Schneeberger's friend returned from a public library meeting with the idea for a Scrabble club and information on how public libraries could purchase the games at a reduced cost. Schneeberger was immediately taken with the idea.
"I work with teenagers and I recognize how much they like board games," she said. "The social aspect of sitting down face-to-face at a board game is really appealing."
Still, Schneeberger was only able to purchase the games - PWPL has five Scrabble boards - with monetary assistance from the Friends of the Peter White Public Library.
But Schneeberger knows that Scrabble isn't for everyone and admits it isn't the most fast-paced game for children.
"I didn't know if this would fly at all," she said. "But I've been very, very pleased with the results."
During the few weeks of the program, six to eight kids have typically turned out to play.
The same kids have been showing up and Schneeberger said she has enjoyed watching the group work together.
"It's been a little bit of a variance but I've had the same core group," she said. "There is one young man who is 13 who is so good and plays with his mom all the time. And he patiently taught another boy the rules last week."
Schneeberger said every aspect of the library and the Summer Reading Program is about promoting literacy, but noted that the program has somewhat limited options for older children.
The Scrabble club is open to kids aged 11 to 18 and the library is planning a game of live Clue in August in an attempt to also reach an older group of kids.
The library staff is hoping there is also a Scrabble interest in the adult community and Schneeberger said there is a plan to host an all-ages game night in the fall.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is kwhitney@miningjournal. net.