Some of our loyal fans have wondered about the history of Wordner. Who invented it? What was their inspiration?
Well, have a seat, kick off your shoes, and listen closely. Have we got a story for you!
Our tale begins just before World War II in rural Texas. There, a young school teacher was just starting her career. Her name was Wordner.
Like all teachers, she wanted her students to do well, achieve success, and be happy. However, she noticed that they were struggling to learn their vocabulary.
At the time, the Texas State Board of Education recommended that students be given 20 terms to learn each week. They would later be tested on these before learning another 20. This went on week after week.
Children hated this process. They grumbled when they received the words and moaned when it came time to take the tests. Wordner thought to herself, “There must be a better way!”
So she set about to design one. She still needed the children to learn their vocabulary. The state required it. But, she quickly realized that there were no restrictions on making the task of memorization fun.
Wordner decided to turn each week’s lesson into a free form, creative game. She wrote statements and questions for the students to complete using specific vocabulary terms. These could be used in phrases, made plural, and conjugated.
Her game required that the children know the meaning of the terms and use them properly. It also required that the student judging each round read the answers aloud and pronounce everything correctly.
Sometime in the fall of 1940, Wordner brought her vocabulary game to school. She was a bit nervous to try it at first. However, the student response was extraordinary. They loved it!
From that point on, her classes requested to play the game nearly every day. Not only were the children excited to learn their vocabulary terms, but they also began performing remarkably better on their tests.
Eventually, Wordner retired from teaching in order to start a family. Except for the many students she had inspired over the years, her game was slowly forgotten.
Fast forward to 2011 when an individual named Wilbur was out visiting a few yard sales. One sale just happened to be at the home once owned by Wordner. She had recently passed away, and her family members were looking to sell off some of her belongings.
Wilbur perused the many wares that were laid out on tables and blankets. There were lamps, clothes, dishes, and books – nothing remarkable really. But, one item did catch his eye.
It was a dusty wooden box. He picked it up. On the lid was the faded picture of an orange, smiling clown fish. He thought it was nice and, perhaps, an antique. He paid 75¢ for it and drove home.
Later that night, Wilbur dusted off the old box and opened it. There inside was Wordner’s vocabulary game, complete with instructions, statements, and starter words!
As he read through everything, Wilbur realized that he had never played a game quite like this before and thought it might be worth sharing with others. He updated the game’s statements, branded it with the smiling clown fish from the box, and named it in honor of the original designer – Wordner.
Now, through Wordner.com, people from across the world are able to enjoy this wonderful game and share in the laughter, silliness, and fun :-)
This story first appeared as an answer to the statement “The game Wordner was created by…”