Cranium & Literacy

Have you played the board game Cranium? Does your library have it available to play or have board game nights? Mine doesn’t yet but here’s my argument why it should.

Cranium is fun because it has something for everyone: the trivia buff (data head), the artist (creative cat), the outgoing one (star performer), and the word nerd (word worm). Everyone has a category they can win with, and it mixes things up with all the fun of trivial pursuit, Pictionary, sherades and boggle. 

What you might not have thought about it is that it also forces you outside your comfort zone (unless you are all around awesome) and makes you use different literacy skills than you normally do.

Text based literacy, visual literacy, deciphering of body language, and problem solving skills are all used in the game. I struggle with the green cards because I’m not very outgoing, my brother struggles with yellow because as he says he hasn’t used the word “apostrophe” since high school and as a plumber never needs to know how to spell it backwards, nevermind when he’s put on the spot. There’s nothing better about me being able to spell or him being able to act, they are just different types of skills. Cranium is great because we have an even chance, unlike sports where he wins and scrabble where I kick butt. But where it’s really great and I’ve never realized before even though I’ve played it a lot is that it keeps our minds sharp, developing the literacies we don’t use in our every day lives.

So don’t feel too bad skipping studying for a night of games with your friends or family, it’s good for you. And promote games in your libraries because they involve a lot of reading and comprehension skills you don’t notice because it’s so fun.


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