Spelling Bee Training

Spelling Bee Training

Spelling Bee Training

Jazmin Ross is from Atlanta and has been writing professionally for the past four years. Her work has been published in "Gwinnett Magazine," "The Gwinnett Business Journal," Sheckys.com, and "The Valdosta Daily Times."

By Jazmin Ross, eHow Contributor updated January 31, 2011

Spelling bees can be fun and educational experiences for students in elementary school and middle school. From researching words to enlisting the help of a spelling coach, there are many training techniques for students who wish to participate in a local spelling bee. It takes a lot of effort and studying for a student to progress from a local spelling bee to the national championship in the nation's capital.

The most well-known spelling competition for students is the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The program, administered by the E.W. Scripps Company, aims to teach children how to spell, improve their vocabulary and correct usage of the English language. Every year, Scripps approves local sponsors, either newspapers or organizations, to hold local level spelling bees. Students compete in the school spelling bee and progress to other competitions in the hopes of ultimately attending the national competition held in Washington, D.C. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is open to children who are under 16 years old and have not reached the eighth grade.

Basic Word Lists

To begin training, Scripps suggests that students first begin learning 50 words for their grade level that they provide to students' teachers. After mastering those words, the student should then learn additional words for other grade levels. Scripps also provides a website for students to learn additional words (see Resources).

Expanding Vocabulary

After mastering all of the words on the Scripps-provided list and website, students should continue learning about new words by reading spelling books, along with looking up words in the dictionary. By using this technique, the student will be able to identify the language of origin for the word. Because of the amount of words in the English language that have these cultural origins, some students have better success in spelling bees after taking courses in Latin and Greek.

Unusual Words

The final step in training for a spelling bee is learning how to spell unusual words. There are books that provide difficult words from past competitions that are great study guides. Before the Scripps National Spelling Bee developed the online list of words for students, they used to publish the "Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Paideia," a booklet that includes words used in past spelling competitions. The book is no longer published, but previous editions can be found in online bookstores. Students can also peruse the Spelling Bee's official dictionary, "Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged," to find words that are difficult and learn how to spell them.


Some students enlist the help of a spelling bee coach to help them with training. This would probably be the most efficient way to prepare for a spelling bee, because a coach could provide structure and knowledgeable guidance to a student's training.

Spelling bee coaches can be teachers, volunteers in the community, family members or friends. There are not specific credentials required to become a spelling bee coach. According to statistics gathered from the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee, 228 spellers in the competition received coaching from a family member or friends, 38 used coaching assistance from teachers, 7 spellers studied alone and 20 did not respond to the survey.

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