By Pat Loeb

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Words were had at Philadelphia School District headquarters Wednesday, but not the angry kind that are sometimes exchanged there.

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It was the third annual Scrabble tournament sponsored by the After School Activities Partnership. 150 elementary students faced off around scrabble boards, testing their skills but also having fun.

“You get to spell words and create words on the scrabble board,” said Naji who was playing with a classmate from Blankenburg against a team from Day. His coach, Mikyeil El-Mekki, says the Scrabble club is a popular one.

“It pays immediate dividends because the children can see that they’re getting smarter.”

He says introducing competition, through the tournament, increased interest.

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“I had students who had never played before saying, ‘well, can somebody teach me?’ Because they wanted to get a chance to showcase those skills and build that self-confidence,” El-Mekki said.

It’s a bit of a stealth move since it looks like a game but the real goal of the club is to improve literacy. Chelsea — from the Day team — likes the combination.

“It’s a challenge, I guess, to test your vocabulary skills.”


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