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Spelling Bee

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Every year, the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee finals take place during the spring. This spelling bee brings together about 250 mostly middle school students, to compete for cash and bonds, scholarships, and other prizes, as well as the title National Spelling Bee Champion. In 2006, the movie Akeelah and the Bee premiered, causing children to become even more curious about this competition. Although many students may want to try for the title, most don’t know what to do to prepare for the journey.

The National Spelling Bee began in 1925 in order to bring enthusiasm to what was thought to be a dull subject, and the Scripps Howard News Service took over the Bee in 1941, with a purpose of helping students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.. Initially, there were about 9 contestants in the Bee. However, participation has grown to a high of 286 students. The 1925 winning word was gladiolus. Since then, words have become more difficult, including words such as: fracas, deteriorating, sacrilegious, psoriasis, and logorrhea.

If your child is interested in participating in a local or national spelling bee, or just wants to improved his spelling skills, the following may be useful: look at a web-based sites such as Carolyn’s Corner; review the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Prefixes, Suffixes, and Combining Forms, and practice from the Consolidated Word Lists, which include more than 794 pages and 23,413 words. Serious spelling bee competitors study root words and etymologies, or the history of words, as well as certain foreign languages in order to spell challenging words correctly. Spellers can study words used in previous bees, and there are many suggestions for preparatory material. Spell it!, a new book of words devoted to spelling bee participants, is also available. Other reference books, describing strategies, methods and lists for improving spelling skills, as well as tutoring materials are available on the web.

If your child is interested in spelling, or just has a knack for the subject, it is important that you encourage the skill. With the invention of the word processor, and spell check, excellent spellers may become an endangered species in the near future.


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