When Your Words Really Count

April 13 is National Scrabble Day! In this famous game you pick 7 square letter tiles, which you line up on the board to make words that cross other words already there. Each letter scores some number of points; the hard-to-use ones like Q, X and Z score the most points. And if you use all 7 letters at once, called “racking,” you get an extra 50 points! If you’re good at words and math, you could rock at Scrabble.

Wee ones: How many letters does SCRABBLE have? (You can have a grown-up spell it for you while you count!)

Little kids: If you play the word DOG, the D and G each score 2 points, and the O scores 1. How many points do you score for DOG?  Bonus: What if the D lands on a double letter space, so you double the D’s points…now how many points do you score?

Big kids: If you play the word WINNERS, the W is worth 4 points; the rest are 1-point letters. But if you get to triple the W and get 50 points for racking, how many points do you get? Bonus: What number can you spell with the letters VEYSTEN, and how many points is it? And what other words can you make? All letters score 1 point except the 4-point V and Y.

Wee ones: 8 letters.

Little kids: 5 points.  Bonus: 7 points, because you just added 2 again.

Big kids: 68 points: 12 for the W, 6 for the rest, and then 50.  Bonus: SEVENTY, and it’s worth 4 plus 4 for the V and Y, plus another 5 for the other letters, plus 50 for racking. Other words, include NEST, NETS, VEST, VETS, SEEN, EYE, YES…and others!

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