Scrabbled: or is that Scrambled?!

A story about how dyslexic strengths can rule in the most unlikely places!

I submitted the following to the Scottish Book Trust 50 word fiction competition in April 2016 (there is generally a new writing prompt every month).

So Dad you’re a wordsmith!

Can you use letters strategically?


Astounding words are rarely possible with 7 random tiles.    

But I’ll place just a few tiles,

Behold I’ve created 3 wee words!

Let’s count!

Every tile counted at least twice.

Dyslexia equals talent!!!

I didn’t win the competition, but hey winning isn’t everything. Like that old saying, tells us: ‘it’s the taking part that counts’! This is particularly true of my experience with this piece, as soon as I saw the scrabble tiles in the picture on the Scottish Book Trust’s website, I was inspired.

After I finished university and I was looking for a job (I was still living at home). Dad and Mum had recently started doing the crossword in the paper (as Dad had heard this was a good way to keep the older mind active). Which led to us also bringing the old Scrabble set back out too.

Please allow me a short aside to tell you about the writing of the above piece. I was worried about the very low word count: so I decided to use the acrostic technique. And I had just intended to write about a game of scrabble. Writing about how: tactics often win out against someone who sounds like they have swallowed a dictionary. So I had pretty much finished my piece. And before I was aware of thinking it: the last three word line had arrived on the page.

OK after that aside. Back to our cosy Scrabble games. So we threw out the rule book: changing the normally competitive game into a co-operative endeavour (a couch co-op, if you like). As, even although (at that point) I had just achieved a BSc Hons degree (and immediately before that a CSYS, Highers and Standard grades), my spelling was still hit and miss. And as I would probably end up showing most of my tray each turn, with incorrect spellings. So we may as well all show our hands to each other.

Anyway, before long I realised that much better scores could be achieved by placing words like: – to, on, it, bat or cat (etc) down the side of an existing word. This is because you (then) get to count each of your tiles at least twice and use your letters much more strategically. Because Scrabble is not the arena through which to demonstrate your wide-ranging and academically-impressive vocabulary.

Just another example of how dyslexia and its unique gifts crop up in the most unlikely situations. 3 cheers for the lateral out-of-the-Scrabble-box thinking of us dyslexics!

Cheerie cheerio, Doreen Kelly



Are you a scrabble whiz?

Have you used your brilliant visual talents to conquer the written word?

Has the above post expanded your understanding of dyslexia?


Published by Dyslexia Scotland

We encourage and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of their age and abilities, to reach their potential.

One thought on “Scrabbled: or is that Scrambled?!

  1. I used to play a word game called Boggle. I remember winning it a lot. It was great to be good at literacy, for once. I tried to work out why I was good at Boggle, so that I could use whatever skill it was in other contexts. I think it was because the letters jumped around for me, and that enabled me to spot words more easily than my opponents. So maybe I was good at Boggle because I have visual stress. I find it interesting that a so called ‘disability’ or ‘condition’ can give you an advantage in a game but put you at a disadvantage in real life. I suppose the key to success is to identify the skills in a game that we *can* apply in other contexts. And if there aren’t any, simply identify what we *can* learn from that game. For example, although I wasn’t able to apply the skill that made me good at Boggle in other contexts, I was using words I knew, and discovering new words.

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