Skip to main content

There are just 40 days until the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Our elementary school holds a local event, and classroom-winning third through fifth graders wring their hands on stage working to spell some tough words! This year, a middle schooler from our school district won our regional competition by correctly spelling “Bolshevik.” He will be among the competitors at the national level in Oxon Hill, MD.

The big news this year is that Scripps has added a vocabulary component to the Bee (opens in a new window). According to Paige Kimble, the director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the vocabulary addition reflects a commitment to helping develop not only spelling skills, but also “increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage. Spelling and vocabulary are, in essence, two sides of the same coin,” said Kimble. “As a child studies the spelling of a word and its etymology, he will discover its meaning. As a child learns the meaning of a word, it becomes easier to spell. And all of this enhances the child’s knowledge of the English language.”

Scores from a computer-based vocabulary test will count toward a speller’s overall score and will help determine which spellers advance to the semifinals. Sample vocabulary questions (opens in a new window) are available.

Personally, I like the vocabulary addition, and applaud any effort to develop vocabulary growth in children. My guess is that the kids who qualify for the national Bee already have fairly developed vocabularies, so I wonder how much unique information the Bee officials will gather from the new vocabulary test. I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
April 18, 2013