If you're hoping to help your child capture his or her first spelling bee trophy, the word lists used for practice and competition at the Scripps National Spelling Bee events can be helpful educational tools.
Word Lists for Spelling Study
While many people believe those who compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are merely highly gifted students, the process of studying for the competition is quite rigorous. It's not uncommon to hear students describing studying spelling words for several hours per day, reading obscure literary texts to develop their vocabulary skills, or quizzing each other straight out of the dictionary.
If you're interested in having words to study, there are several ways to obtain study word lists:
- Enrolled schools can receive study words for each grade level - A teacher or school spelling bee coordinator can register on spellingbee.com, pay the $120 per school enrollment fee and obtain the 100 study words prepared for each grade level in grades 1-8.
- Spell It! - The Scripps National Spelling Bee study site contains study words divided by language of origin.
- Winning words from Scripps National Spelling Bees - Winning words dating as far back as 1950 are available on spellingbee.com.
- 2013 School Spelling Bee Study List - This list includes 450 words for grades 1-8.
- Previously misspelled words from the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee
- Project Read Consolidated Word List - A 794-page document containing 23,413 words divided into four sections:
- Section One - a preface, pronunciation key, and guide to the language of origin for specified words
- Section Two - words which appear infrequently
- Section Three - words which appear with moderate frequency
- Section Four - words which most frequently appear in the competition
Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a competition run on a not-for-profit basis by the E. W. Scripps Company in conjunction with local sponsors.
- Eligibility: The Bee is open to students under the age of 16 who are the winners of sponsored American regional spelling bees as well as the top young spellers from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, and the Bahamas.
- Timing: Every fall and winter schools have local competitions and then send their winners to the next level of competition.
- Event: The event is televised and takes place in Washington, D.C.
- Prizes: The winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee receives a generous prize package that includes a cash award, college scholarship, and a selection of reference books from Encyclopedia Britannica. Smaller awards are also given to the top-ranking finalists in the competition.
Additional Spelling Resources
In addition to studying consolidated word lists, competitive spellers will want to consider reviewing the following references:
- The YourDictionary website is a helpful tool for spellers of all ages. You can:
- check out wordlists and spelling tips for each grade level
- review lists of commonly misspelled words
- look up the definitions and pronunciations for unfamiliar words you encounter while helping your child to study and develop a knowledge of the obscure words that often seem to be the ticket to a spelling bee championship.
- How to Spell Like a Champ is a study guide for children ages 9 and up who are planning to enter their first spelling bee. Topics covered include how to build word lists, how to find word roots, how to recognize spelling patterns, and how to study words that don't appear to fit any logical pattern. Two of the three authors are former Scripps National Spelling Bee champions.
- The Spelling List and Word Study Resource Book isn't necessarily a book written for competitive spellers, but it's a great guide to building general spelling skills for young elementary school students - particularly grades 1-6. Parents will love the sections of the book that offer ideas for promoting a lifelong love of learning and an intense appreciation for the English language.
- Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder is a great tool for students who seek to develop their vocabulary skills as a way to improve their spelling abilities. Quizzes are scattered throughout the book to test the reader's comprehension of the material.
Studying for a spelling bee can be a great confidence builder - even if the student doesn't eventually rank among the top finalists.