Improve Your Spelling With the Librarian’s Cat

by Catherine Eagleson

When I was a child, my grandmother introduced my sister, brother and I to a great word building game.  It is called The Librarian’s Cat.  I would like to share it with you.  If you are looking for word puzzle games to play with your kids to help them improve their spelling, then this it. Kids don’t have to have all the fun, adults can also play it and get a lot of enjoyment.  The Librarian’s Cat will get you thinking, boost your vocabulary and improve your spelling.  One of the great benefits is that it will enhance your ability to solve crosswords and codewords.

What are the different types of words?

We are all used to learning different types of words.  It’s part of our everyday life, really.  Nouns are the ‘naming words’, verbs are the ‘doing words’ and adjectives are the ‘describing words’.  Adjectives have always been my favourite.  They always seem to me to be the most interesting.  I particularly like the ones with several syllables and a variety of consonants and vowels.  friendlymarvellous, vivacious, just to name a few.  If you are looking for some inspiration, be sure to check out our Shakespearean spelling bee.

The describing of a cat : word play fun

The way we used to play it was using the alphabet starting at A and rotating through our  group until we got to Z.  For example: The Librarian’s Cat is an amiable cat, the Librarians’s Cat is a boring cat, the Librarian’s cat is a cantankerous cat, the Librarian’s cat is a daring cat, and so on.  The words can be as imaginative and unrelated as you like.  You get the idea…

Here are the rules

  1. Perhaps get everyone to draw straws to see which person in your group will start.
  2. Each word must be an adjective.When a person can’t think of a word, after a period time, (you decide) they miss their turn
  3. The next person takes over that letter, and continues on for as long as they can.

Tricky letters

When you get to the letter X, you may think you have hit a roadblock. It is a case where X doesn’t mark the spot, unless of course, your cat has been x-rayed, or enjoys playing the xylophone!  Never fear, we have found the solution.  Although there are virtually no adjectives that start with the letter X, there are plenty that contain the sound EX.  Look for words like EXHILARATING, PERPLEXING, INEXORABLE.

The letter Y can also be a bit tricky. Two words that spring to mind are YELLOW and YIDDISH, but what then? Instead of missing the letter out all together, this is where you can really get creative, by thinking of words that contain the letter Y somewhere in the word. Some examples are DYNAMIC, MYSTERIOUS and TYRANNICAL.

Improve your spelling by getting to know your dictionary

When playing The Librarian’s Cat, your dictionary is your best friend.  It helps you find and learn new words, check synonyms and antonyms, which will in turn help you come up with other words to use in the game.  Keep it on hand like you do when you play Scrabble.  Another good idea is to write the words down on a jotter, so that you will remember them for future reference, and continue to boost your vocabulary to enhance your ability to do more puzzles. The Librarian’s Cat Game can also double as a spelling bee.

The game for any occasion

It’s an ideal word game to play on a wet afternoon, or around the table at dinner time.  It’s great fun, and by the end of the game, I guarantee you’ll be in fits of laughter, because the words will be so many and varied.  You really become sorry for the poor cat!

Play the Librarian’s Cat word game when you are travelling in the car with the family. Don’t get bored with a long drive… have fun thinking and playing with words.  There are huge learning and entertainment benefits.  No toys or consoles required, just your thinking caps, which don’t take up any room in your luggage!

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