Exploring Literacy with Mad Libs

I like Mad Libs – that silly word game where you fill in the blanks, completely out of context, for hilarious results! This game is over 50 years old and comes in a variety of themes such as holidays, sports, Presidents, Star Wars and Fear Factor. I loved this game as a kid, but did not recognized the educational value until I was a teacher. Second grade education standards include identifying parts of speech, which is exactly what players do in this game. So, before reading any further (no cheating), think of an adjective, verb and noun; you’ll need them in a just a bit.

When I taught second grade, I collected one story from each student’s writing portfolio. I typed them up and left out a selection of nouns, verbs and adjectives throughout the story. I compiled them, made copies, spiral bound each one, and gave them as a holiday gift. We tried a couple in class and the kids loved hearing their “reworked” story. Another great idea would have been to laminate them for future students to use. Give it a try. It is easy and can be done with sentences (see below) rather than full stories.

Okay, let’s see how you did. Fill in the blanks below, and share any good ones in a comment to the post or on Facebook.

The _____(adjective)______ birds ______(verb)______ every morning outside of my ______(noun)_____ .

Try This:
For some imaginative art time, write a sentence or story (with blanks) on a piece of paper (or type and print). Ask your child for the parts of speech that will complete the sentence. Fill in the blanks with their answers and have your child illustrate with a funny picture. You can even have him or her complete a second copy of the sentence with more appropriate words and draw that too. Then, compare the two side by side or create a book of “spontaneous improvisations.”

You can create a number of these silly stories or sentences and laminate them. Include space for drawing and grab some colorful dry-erase markers for goofy entertainment on your next road trip.

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