Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Sneak Peek: The Scripps National Spelling Bee By Sheryl Lin

A Sneak Peek: The Scripps National Spelling Bee
By Sheryl Lin

The Long Island Regional Spelling Bee recently took place March 18th at Hofstra University, with over 100 spellers from schools all over Long Island coming together to compete. With words like “succotash”, “parquet”, “soliloquy”, and “adnate”, it’s no easy task either. Many spellers study for months, even years before the big day comes around.
Screenshot 2016-03-23 at 5.27.06 PM - Edited.png
*That’s me there! Aahhh!

The spelling bee is such a fun experience! You can find so many amazing people that simply love to compete and spell. And it’s a great feeling when you’ve studied so much and it all pays off. Participating in the spelling bee is tons of fun, but it’ll take a lot of hard work too.

There are four spelling bees: the classroom spelling bee, the school spelling bee, the regional spelling bee, and the national spelling bee. Each bee uses its own rules and a certain packet of words to study. It’s recommended that you learn these rules and packets very well, as most other competitors will be too. Lots of competitors memorize the packets, so that means you’ll have to too! Flash cards are good for that kind of thing.
The classroom spelling bee uses the study words you’ve probably gotten from your English teacher, and it’s the very first step. As long as you study and are dedicated to your goal, you’ll probably make it through. The school spelling bee is the same way, just that it’s likely you’ll go farther down the list than in your classroom bee. It’s even possible you might go off the list and start spelling completely new words!

The regional spelling bee is a little different. You’ll receive a bigger packet, this time with about a thousand study words! It’s sorted by language which is much better for learning than by grade level. There’ll be a preliminary paper test containing vocabulary questions so you’ll definitely need to do some studying. After the paper test, you’ll have to go through a preliminary oral round, where you only need to spell one very simple word like “geothermal” or “character”. Occasionally there’ll be an unfortunate kid that receives a harder word, so just cross your fingers and hope your word is one you’ve studied.

After the preliminaries, you get a nice lunch break, and then you’re back in action. Usually 2/3rds of the competitors are knocked out, and 1/3rd is left in the finals. From there it’s a complete battle, and it’s then that the people who didn’t study are weeded out. Gradually the words start going off the list… and eventually you’ll find yourself running on simple skill. It gets pretty spectacular by the end.

If you’re interested in the bee, here are some tips!
  • Dig around the internet. The national spelling bee is broadcast on ESPN when it happens… watch it!
  • Sorry, but you’ll probably want to memorize the study packets. There are quizlets you can find online for that.
  • The more you know about a language, the better you’ll spell words from that language. French and Spanish classes will really help you in this way.
  • Try to get a ‘feel’ for every language. Words from different languages are spelled differently… take for example “schadenfreude” which is from German, and “wikiwiki” which is Hawaiian.

If you have any questions, I’d be glad to help. Good luck, future speller!