WordPlay Café – Free Book for Educators

This one’s for the teachers.

Within the last few years, we’ve been stretched quite thin when it comes to budgetary matters, and very few sectors of our economy have witnessed as dramatic a cut in services as our schools. With this in mind, I’ve made the decision to put my greediness aside, and offer some help instead.

In 2004, I wrote and illustrated WordPlay Café (Williamson Publishing). It’s a fun and educational romp through the more common aspects of linguistics for kids, and was driven by my desire to not only present the humor in wordplay, but also explain how it works, so that kids may begin to build their own unique brand of phonetic fun.


Here’s the deal.

Below you will find links to the book as chapter-by-chapter PDF files. Some chapters are as large as 5MB, so allow some time to download (right click or control click), especially if the site is busy. (Front Matter & Chapter 1, and Chapters 5 & 6 are combined into one file.) Viewing will require the use of the Adobe Reader, which is available at their website for no charge. Be sure to have your students read through the front matter first, as it explains how the book works.

All I ask in return is that the files remain in the classroom and be treated in a scholarly manner. In addition, I would appreciate any feedback on the book and would ask that any purchase or review of the book go through amazon.com. Should you assemble classroom activities around a particular page or idea, I’d love to share it on the website with other teachers. Be sure to pass this link to other educators as well. A Parent’s Choice® award winner. Join me on Facebook or Pinterest! And if you have extra moment, check out my blogs on the Kids Discover website for more unusual insights for parents and teachers.


Teach. Learn. Enjoy!

-Michael Kline






77 Responses to WordPlay Café – Free Book for Educators

  1. Pingback: Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – 7 December | Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub Blog

  2. *littlestar. says:

    Got this link from The Homeschool Mom; thanks so much to you for providing this free. As a linguist myself and a homeschooler these books are invaluable for teaching. I look forward to learning and playing some new word games!

  3. mikey says:

    You’re very welcome. Let everyone else know too. Thanks!

  4. dawn says:

    i just got it from the same link – we are homeschooling, too! it’s wonderful to have a resource like this to encourage her language play – thank you!

  5. mikey says:

    Whenever I give demonstrations or talks at local libraries, the homeschoolers are consistently the kids with all the answers, so kudos to you!

  6. Angie says:

    Looks like a lot of fun! Thanks! My daughter loves to play games as a part of our school day. I am sure there will be much for me to learn as well.

  7. Kaitlyn says:

    Homeschoolers and Classroom Teachers:
    It’s fantastic to get this all for free – THANK YOU DOGFOOSE! But you may want to consider how much it’ll cost you or your district in ink to print it out vs. purchasing it since it’s not expensive and it is a fantastic book. This book is SOOO COOOOL!

    As a homeschooler, I went ahead and downloaded all of it so I could cleanly print out individual pages when I really need to. But I’m just going to spend the 10 bucks and get the book. Even though I go for everything free that I can, I know that this one is a keeper – and for keepers, I open the wallet!

    Have fun!

  8. mikey says:

    Thanks everyone for the nice comments. I was laughing most of the time while writing WordPlay Cafe (which is the way it should be…). If anyone has a spare moment, please go to the book’s page on amazon and write a review, and be honest. Woe is the person (okay, author) that refuses to learn–one way or the other.

  9. Ian says:

    Hi..Thank you so much for this wonderful resource..I’ve been having huge bummer getting my son to love reading and writing and anything that has got to do with language art..playing with words might just do the trick.
    Thank you so much.

  10. mikey says:

    Hey Ian, tell your son that if he reads the book and engages in just one of the activities, I will send him a personally autographed copy–replete with a drawing of my cat Baxter.

  11. Denese says:

    Hi Michael,
    Just wanted to say thank you. 🙂
    My children will love this!


  12. sudi says:

    thanks so much for providing this

  13. Laurie says:

    Thanks for providing such an amazing resource. It will be used quite frequently in the classroom.

  14. Maree says:

    Thank you for making this available. It looks fantastic and I’m sure we’ll use it a lot in our homeschooling.

  15. Nicole says:

    What a gem! As a speech-language pathologist, I’m always looking for great resources to use when I visit classrooms. This is it! I’ve been passing this info along to everyone I run into! I bought it at an education supply store and thought I got a great bargain, but this one beats all! Thanks!

  16. mikey says:

    Thanks for the nice comment. It absolutely was my intention to write WordPlay Cafe as a serious language skills builder disguised as fun. If you’d like an “Easter Egg” to share with your classrooms, see the Punzle on page 57. Occasionally I will employ edible items in my artwork, so for the bricks in the building I stuck several pieces of Dentyne to a sheet of sandpaper, then scanned it into the illustration. And there are others… I’ll let you guess. 🙂 In keeping with my visits to classrooms, I’ll make you a deal too. If you’ll suggest to your “audience” that they send me their comments on the book (en masse), I’ll forward an autographed copy to that classroom. I so much enjoy hearing what kids think of the book, and it always helps with the next one… Thanks again!

  17. Diana Carey says:

    Looking forward to using some of these ideas.

  18. Kenna Cataudella says:

    Thank you for this GIFT! Just shared it with my teachers! Your generosity is a blessing in this year of cutbacks. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  19. mikey says:

    You are most welcome. Some things are more important than royalties…

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  22. Mariana Wilkes says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this invaluable resource. As a third grade teacher I can see myself and my students getting a lot of use out of this resource this upcoming school year.

  23. Sarah Webb says:

    Just downloaded this to save on my computer (saving ink by not printing). Even quickly scrolling through I have got an idea to make a resource for (vertical scrabble) and I plan on using it with my year 6 class next week!

  24. mikey says:

    Thanks Sarah! Glad to hear that you’re taking the basic ideas and running with them. That’s exactly what I intended.

  25. Janna says:

    Thank you for this resource! I got the link off of pinterest. I’m excited to play some games with my students tomorrow!

  26. Cheryl says:

    Thank you. My grandchildren will love this.

  27. mikey says:

    Thank YOU for your kind words.

  28. heather says:

    Thanks for this!! Found it pinned on pinterest! Can’t wait to use it in my classroom!!
    I repinned it too!!

  29. mikey says:

    Cool! Send me an address for the school, and I will forward a real copy of the book to your classroom. Thanks Heather!

  30. Ashley says:

    I am thrilled with this! Thank you so much for providing it- I’m going to show it to my daughter’s teacher- she is such a neat woman, and I love all that she does for her classes. I just know she will enjoy some fresh ideas!

  31. Lisa W says:

    Thanks for sharing this… I can’t wait to use it with my kids… =D

  32. mikey says:

    Hi Lisa,

    You are certainly welcome, and thanks for sharing!


  33. Mildred says:

    Thanks so much for this! My students this year came with very few skills, and getting them to practice is a chore! I hope these games will mix it up and help them get excited!

  34. mikey says:

    Thanks Mildred!

  35. Andrea says:

    Thank you so much. I am the homeschooling mom to two girls who love words and reading. I am constantly amazed at just how clever children are when given the chance to be creative. The games you introduce in your book are a fantastic addition to their collection. Well done, and thank you once again for your generosity.


  36. mikey says:

    Hi Andrea, Thanks for the nice comment. If you’ll send your snail mail address to mikey@dogfoose.com, I’ll send a bona fide paper version of the book for your girls to enjoy. Thanks again!


  37. Melissa O says:

    WOW! Can’t wait to download the rest of the chapters. My students and my own children are going to have so much fun. Thanks so much

  38. Kim says:

    What an amazing resource!! I cannot wait to use some of these activities with my students. I teach special education and I am always looking for a new and clever way to teach the same old stuff!! Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas! It really means a lot to all of us teachers out there on a minimal budget!

    Mrs. H

    PS-I posted about this on my blog and reviewed on amazon for you!

  39. mikey says:

    Hi Mrs. H,
    Thanks so much for the nice note, and especially for the review on amazon.com. I’m hoping that more educators will find the book as delightful and informative as you did. If you will send a snail mail address to mikey@dogfoose.com, I’ll send an autographed version of the real thing to your classroom.

    Thanks again!


  40. KW says:

    Wow! I have yet to download these, but am excited to! I am so thrilled with your generosity in letting teachers access these materials for free in their classrooms, but moreso in your compassion in noticing how much education has been affected by cuts. I am NOT a political person at all, but I am a teacher in Vancouver, BC and we are currently striking on a variety of levels because of the depths of these cuts and their effects on the most important thing of all- the children.

  41. Cay says:

    Oh my!
    What a jewel I have stumbled upon!!

    We homeschool and I can’t wait to use these great ideas with my kiddos.

    Thank you so much for the free download.

  42. Pingback: Spanish specific teacher resources and blogs | Pearltrees

  43. Vanessa Parker says:

    Just pinned this from Pinterest and skimmed through and am so excited by what I see. As a kindergarten teacher and mother of two young boys, I am constantly looking for new, engaging, fun ways to teach all these little jewels! Along with that , for the past 5 years I have had ESE students in my classroom and any new, hands-on way to teach is always welcome. I am SO looking forward to reading the rest and putting some of these great ideas to use both in the classroom and at home! As a teacher, I am always spending my money on items and books and new ways to enrich my students and just want to thank you for offering this resource for free!!

  44. mikey says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    Glad you liked it. WordPlay Cafe is a real hit with the education crowd. Let me know what else you like (or don’t like) about it.



  45. Pingback: What’s a Swiftie? | Dogfoose.com (Michael Kline)

  46. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this amazing resource! I am a Reading Intervention teacher that sees 50+ students a day and this is exactly what I needed. It will help them see that there can be fun in learning and take off some of the pressure they feel to do better! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  47. mikey says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the kind words. Hope it helps!

  48. Petra says:

    What a brilliant book and so amazing that you are offering it for free! Thanks, thanks and thanks some more!

    I am intending on using this on my interactive whiteboard in my classroom, to engage kids – especially the boys – with word play and I can’t wait to show them when our new term begins!
    PS I’m in Australia and I also saw this via a pin on Pinterest. 🙂

  49. mikey says:

    Thanks Petra! Always glad to hear how people are using the book. Remember to share too.


  50. Cameron Lloyd says:

    I have read this book lots of times and I like the pictures, including Baxter. Looove it! 10/10

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