We're about a week away from Open House (and 18 days away from the end of the year, but who is counting) so I'm in the midst of changing over bulletin boards to put up fresh, pretty work. This afternoon all the student work that had been up was taken down in one full swoop during my lunch break. I gathered up all the letters used to title each board and sorted them by letter, preparing to put them back in alphabetical order and back in their storage container. While I sat at my desk, the number of letters I had just taken down struck me.
Anyhow, these letters came down from three bulletin boards. If I quickly count in my head, there were 42 individual letters, making up 6 words, up on the boards that are sorted here. Interestingly, only 12 letters of the alphabet were used to make these words.
During this exercise, I was reminded of watching the game show, "Wheel of Fortune", with my parents when I was growing up. The premise of the show was to solve word puzzles by choosing letters that might be used to make up the words. Of course, the better the contestants were at choosing the letters the more of a chance they had to solve the puzzles and earn prize money. The winner of the early rounds had a chance to choose a set number of letters to reveal in the final puzzle, and if they choose wisely and solved the puzzle in a short time frame, they won the grand prize. The contestants on the show always chose the same letters first and, after some time of the show being on, these most common letters were just given to the contestants during the final puzzles since they were being chosen anyways. It took quite a few episodes for me to understand why those letters were always chosen, and didn't get it until my dad explained that those were the most used/common letters in the English Language. The contestants tried to get the best odds by starting with the those letters. That was my parents' first lesson in odds and gambling, but that's a post for another time.
The most used letters, in case you are wondering, are E, T, A, O, I, N, S, H, R, D, L, C, U. I'd say my odds would have been quite good on this pile of letters sitting on my desk. All but H, D, and L were used, and I added some Ms and Fs. Ten out of 13 of the letters are from this list! Get me to Vegas!