Online literacy challenge excites students

In Term 2, online literacy program, LiteracyPlanet, announced the launch of its national school competition, Word Mania 2016.

Based on a gamified digital word building exercise, Word Mania tests various literacy skills, including phonemes, morphemes, spelling, word recognition, vocabulary and word knowledge.

Players have three minutes and 15 randomly generated letters to create as many words as possible, with points based on word accuracy and complexity. 

A week after registrations opened students at more than 600 schools had started practising. Now, with one week to go until the competition rounds start on Monday, 1 August, more than 1,900 schools and 190,000 students have registered to participate.
Students have spent more than one million minutes building more than nine million words, with up to 49,000 games played in a single day.

Martine Gill, principal at Coomera Springs State School in Queensland – where hundreds of students from multiple year levels are involved – said Word Mania has “enriched” teaching and learning for her students.

“At Coomera Springs State School we utilise the benefits of online learning and Word Mania has easily integrated into our curriculum, and enriched the teaching and learning for our students,” she said.

The competition has sparked interest from media, and the fun and challenge of the game was demonstrated when LiteracyPlanet ambassador Georgie Gardner invited hosts from the Today Show and Today Extra to test their own word building skills on live television.

“We are thrilled by the excitement generated in schools by the Word Mania competition. Students love the game and teachers enjoy the way it engages students,” LiteracyPlanet CEO, Adam McArthur, told The Educator.

“As a company focused on improving student literacy and making the learning experience fun, it’s fantastic to see how enthralled kids are by Word Mania, and how digital technology can play such an easy and useful role in literacy learning.” 

The competition, including a companion app for both iOS and Android, is free and open to Years 1 to 9. Live leaderboards are updated daily and there is more than $100,000 in prizes for schools. 

Teachers can try the Word Mania practice game and register their students to participate at The competition rounds close on Friday, 12 August.