Kanga Words a hop, step, jump to learning

Albany Advertiser
Kanga Words' creator Don Titterton.
Camera IconKanga Words' creator Don Titterton. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Don Titterton is an ideas man who has run a business and poured his heart into worthy causes, but give him a three-syllable word to pronounce and he will struggle.

Living with dyslexia, he only learned to write properly when he was about 35-years-old.

Even now, if he does not write for a couple of months, it takes him a while to get back on track.

As he neared retirement, Mr Titterton was watching Letters and Numbers on SBS when he had a brainwave.

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“I thought, ‘I could create something like that’,” he said. “I really only had people with learning difficulties in mind when I first started out.”

Over the next decade, Mr Titterton honed his creation — a words-based board game which challenges players to build words from the inside, out.

He has called it Kanga Words, giving it an Australian flavour in the hope it might one day sell overseas.

“The phonics of a word is where I break down. You give me a three-syllable word and I’ll battle to pronounce it,” he said.

“When you’ve got a word like one — bone and phone and things like that, it’s confusing.

“This is virtually a brain exercise. If I can play a board game like this once or twice a week, then I’m retaining the skill.

“There isn’t one pigeonhole for dyslexia, there are all sorts of different levels, but repetition is my way of keeping it up.”

Although his intention was to create a game for people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, he said it had turned out to be suitable for all skill levels.

“I’ve played it with top Scrabble players,” he said.

“Forty points is a good score and this one guy wanted to get well above that. I played it until 12.30am with him saying ‘one more game’, until he got nearly 60 points in the end.”

Mr Titterton will launch Kanga Words at Albany Public Library from 5.30pm next Thursday.

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