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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Now share your first Mystery Word with the kids: 1. Choose a word. Make it a fresh, new, fun, or exciting word that relates some- how to what has been going on (or will be going on) in the lives of the kids. For example, here are some popular words from Denita’s program: stomp, slimy, absorb, snot, aim, wow, jump, treasure, dig, imagine, construct, ramp, goopy, string. 2. Write the word down on a blank index card, and then display the card. You can tape it to the wall, put it in a picture frame, or set it on an activity table— whatever works for your program. 3. From your index card file box, grab the individual letters that spell the word you’ve chosen, and then hide the letters around the room. 4. Wait for the children to discover the letters and build the word during free play. (There is not a scheduled Mystery Word time.) As their play evolves, the children will discover the letters, and the word will eventually get built. 5. Once the children have found all the letters, let them figure out what the word is. 2 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL