Scrabble is coming to a school near you

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Building upon the success of the Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge, the local nonprofit group After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) is expanding its program to include Scrabble clubs.

The decision to introduce Scrabble was an easy one, said Marciene Mattleman, president of ASAP. “Scrabble is the perfect afterschool activity. It improves literacy and strategic thinking skills for those of all ages,” she said.

Scrabble clubs arose out of “Philly Plays Scrabble,” a joint initiative with the Free Library of Philadelphia to promote Philadelphia as a literate city and to raise awareness about a game that can be both fun and an excellent teaching tool.

ASAP provides schools interested in starting a club with materials, which include sets, dictionaries, and handouts. Members of the Philadelphia Scrabble Club have also offered their time to lead workshops with students and teachers.

ASAP already sponsors clubs in nearly 160 public and charter schools in Philadelphia, providing the materials and trainings needed for teachers and volunteers to run afterschool chess clubs. School District CEO Paul Vallas said the clubs “help sharpen skills and provide many pleasurable hours for our students.”

Teachers, administrators, or volunteers interested in leading an afterschool club can contact ASAP Projects Coordinator Peter English at 215-545-3077 or