There is no definite method that guarantees a winning position in a spelling bee. Many factors of a person’s life and personality contribute to it, as I have learned through my own experience. Every person has a different style of living, as well as enduring and conquering challenges. However, I will still offer all of my experiences to those who wish to read about them and possibly gain insight from.Each year Christa McAuliffe hosts a spelling bee in each class and for the entire school. In my second and third year attending I.S.187 I have advanced to the citywide competition hosted in the Mid-Manhattan Library. Although they may not be beneficial to all future spelling bee competitors, here are some tips that I learned along the way.
The class spelling bee winner largely depends on luck in grades 6 and 7. Of course, words in 7th and 8th grade are slightly more advanced than in 6th, but nevertheless winners depend mostly on the order in which they go. It is not a necessity to study for the first contest because the words are overall on that grade level. However the school-wide bee is a bit challenging for sixth and seventh graders because eight, ninth, and tenth grade words are sometimes used. I would advise sixth graders to study for the school contest. It is the easiest for seventh and eighth graders to win because they are taught those words in class, but extra studying never does any harm!
The district spelling bee is a bit more challenging than the school’s. Although it starts off easy due to participating fifth graders, the fight for the top 10-15 spots is difficult. Students will definitely have to study for this contest. Science words are especially used in the last rounds. Below is a list of words that I noticed have repeated each year in the spelling bee:
⦁ Osmosis
⦁ Rhinoceros
⦁ Finessing
⦁ Cessation
⦁ Xylophone
⦁ Cilantro
Another tip is to always ask for the definition before spelling a word, even if you are 100% sure that you know the word. There are many times in which I would have spelled a word wrong if I had not asked for the definition, because the speaker may not always pronounce the word clearly.
I have not advanced past the city spelling bee, but I have participated in it. If you do advance past the district competition, Ms. Lane-Maloney, the spelling bee coordinator, will give you a list of words to study. It is extremely important to study this list because the spelling bee will likely use many of those words. The tips on the sheets are also often very helpful if you do not know the word because you can guess the word’s spelling based on the language of origin. This particular spelling bee is very nerve-racking, as it takes almost all day to complete. Bringing snacks and food with you to the bee to eat during the intermissions is a good idea, unless it makes you nervous. Just remember that nothing is on the line here if you do not win.
The most important aspect of all for a person to possess in order to advance through the competitions is a love of reading. For the two years in which I have competed in the spelling bee all three of the school-wide winners, including myself, had an avid passion for reading. In fact, our shared love of reading made the whole contest a more enjoyable, because we had read many of the same books and were able to discuss them. Adding on, having a passion of reading and building up knowledge from the day a person learns to read is the major key to success in a spelling bee. Those who love to read accumulate a wide vocabulary as they mature and grow. Plus, many novels use vocabulary that appear in spelling bees. Reading is the key to expanding your vocabulary.
If you are a spelling bee competitor, good luck!