Words with Friends. Have you heard of it? Have you played it? This little app is pretty addictive. It is played very much like Scrabble, and you don't have to be with your opponent to play. Each turn is taken when you get the chance. I usually try to get in a few plays when I get home from work and a few before bed, if I am still able to piece together a logical thought by that time.
I have been playing Words with Friends for about a month now. I play against a few colleagues, my two children, and a few other friends. Although I consider myself to have a decent vocabulary, and I am a reader, I have lost every single game I have played thus far.
I mentioned this somewhat embarrassing point to a friend and she pointed out that there is a lot of strategy involved; it is not just about knowing words. She grew up playing Scrabble and happens to be very good at Words with Friends. At the mention of the word strategy, I immediately made the connection to reading comprehension strategies. There is a parallel here--if we read strings of words, but don't have any strategies for putting those words together to make meaning, then we have lost the proverbial reading game.
Just as reading comprehension strategies need to be explicitly taught, I also need to be given explicit instruction on Words with Friends tips. A quick Google search turned up lots of hits for such instruction, including several sites on which you can cheat. (I have a sneaking suspicion one of my opponents uses it on a regular basis....) With a bit of practice at applying these tips, my scores should improve, much like what happens in the game of reading.
If you haven't tried Words with Friends yet, check it out. If you already play, look me up and let's play--I need the practice!