“I think it’s important for kids to be creative through languages, which are basically codes…and to see learning as fun; which it is!”
Born in Seattle, Washington, Madeline Reddicks (daughter of Tommy Reddicks) lives in Penzance, Cornwall, UK. Madeline has always had a passion for language, literacy, and linguistics. As a child, she developed an early love for codes and ciphers, and always kept a book of codes by her side. Madeline has an on going fascination with artistic forms of language expression. She is drawn to the beauty of symbolism, especially within Kanji, Manga, and Anime.
“As a child, riddles and codes were my passion- I had a small, shiny blue book wherein I would write all sorts of coded phrases and clever puzzles. I felt like a super-spy! My favourite code was, and still is ‘Pig Pen’, probably because it looked so abstract, so when I was smaller, I thought I was a genius for knowing it off by heart! As the life of a spy began to become a little more commonplace for me, I went in search of a new word game, something even more confounding to amaze all my friends. It was then that I discovered riddles. What could be more perfect? My first riddle was the famous riddle of the Sphinx, and I felt so cool for knowing it! This was also the start of a whole new world for me; what started me off on my journey to becoming the book lover I am today!”
There’s no doubt where Madeline stands with word games and how important they are for children. She feels games are a sure-fire way to get children interested in learning something new. Everyone knows just how important English and Math skills are, and Madeline believes the best way to encourage learning is to make it fun! “There are so many benefits of word games, they’re fun, they increase both vocabulary and spelling ability, and keep the brain healthy and well exercised, regardless of age.” Madeline finds the math functionality of the riddle to be a brilliant way to ensure a well-rounded educational challenge. She finds that tackling these problems can be seen as enjoyable and rewarding, and a great self-motivating tool for tuning up the mind.
“Education is about the process of discovery, so the trick is not always providing the answer.”
The father of Madeline Reddicks, Tommy Reddicks is a musician, author, and school administrator. Tommy was born in Mesa, AZ and lives in Indianapolis, IN, USA. Tommy has always had a flair for creativity, and taught music for fourteen years in public, private, and charter schools. As a school principal, he continually faces the challenge of engaging today’s youth.
“As a school principal, I began adding a weekly riddle to the morning announcements, offering small prizes for the students who guessed the answer. At first I just stole riddles from the Internet, but my students soon figured me out and started surfing online for the answers. So, I realized I needed to begin writing my own riddles.”
Growing up in Wyoming, Tommy relied on a strong imagination and a natural sense of improvisation on his way to degrees in Music Education and Administration. A student of perception, gaming, and strategy, Tommy is quietly competitive, and enjoys thinking outside the box. Beginning in 2002, Tommy began designing educational curriculum with a focus on innovations in cross-curricular connections. Tommy found early success publishing comprehensive units through the National Core Knowledge Foundation. In these units Tommy used strong content to teach other content areas. For instance, he utilized Gustav Holst’s The Planets Suite to teach Astronomy, Roman Mythology, Roman Numerals, and Literacy, and used the hook of the Black Plague to teach science, poetry, art, history, and music of the middle ages. After more than a decade of interdisciplinary development, Tommy has honed the craft of using the passion in a single discipline to teach all other disciplines. That method is part of the design of this book. By using the passion behind wordplay, connections to math, visual perception, comprehension, and vocabulary come together in a fun learning experience for all ages.
“I have watched students attack this riddle process with intensity. Children and adults alike are intuitively competitive when facing something needing a solution. Riddles, however take this concept one step further. They suggest an answer that “should” be easy, and lure one in to the rewarding process of self-discovery. And, once a reader gets a few riddle solutions under their belt, they’re hooked. I piloted this book with a variety of students at my school. I remember having a middle school student go at this reading and math process for 45 minutes without a second thought, and this was a student who couldn’t give his teacher 10-minutes of focus in any other setting.”
Tommy’s favourite cipher is Caesar’s Shift. For more information on Tommy Reddicks, visit www.tommyreddicks.com.