Whenever the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the US takes place, parents and children may wonder: What does it take to become a champion? Is it worth the effort?
As just about any former Scripps champion could tell you, the contest – which took place from May 31 to June 1 – involves a fair amount of luck, so preparation does not guarantee a victory. There’s simply no way a contestant can know which word awaits them from the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary. But if young people find enjoyment in learning how to spell words, as well as understanding the origins and meanings of these words, then they will feel proud of what they accomplished.
Still, as I state in my book, Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough, there are certain practices that can greatly boost a child’s chances of becoming an excellent speller. I observed these practices among families who assist their children in competitive academics.
Invest in study materials
Rather than just open the dictionary, contestants study word lists, including the 4,000 words in the free official study guide provided by Scripps. Some parents create their own word lists based on observing past bees.
But to the extent possible, competitive spellers, including several previous Scripps National Spelling Bee winners, have purchased special…