Last week, Fairmont Private Schools – Historic Anaheim Campus student Winston Z. (7th grade) won the Orange County Spelling Bee! Winston competed against 46 other top-notch spellers from the county. Spellers ranged from 6th to 8th grade. After 10 rounds of high-stakes spelling, the competition came down to Winston and Audrey L. from St. John’s Episcopal School. In round 13, Winston won the competition by correctly spelling “terete.” We bet his language arts teachers at the Historic Anaheim and Anaheim Hills (Winston’s former campus) campuses are proud!
Winston will move on to the next level of competition at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer in Washington D.C. Winston’s county win assured him and a chaperone complimentary trips to the competition. What a summer!
Spelling Bee Tips
Write it Out On Your Hand
Practice Makes Perfect
Flashcards Are Your Bestfriend
Study Roots and Etymology
Memorization is unfortunately not enough. Inevitably amidst the bright lights on that spelling bee stage, the moderator will give at least one word that was missing from that flashcard stack. That is where studying roots and etymology comes in. For example, let’s say a contestant starts studying roots and comes upon the root “vac” which in Latin means “empty.” They’ll start to notice the similarity in definitions of the words with that root, like “vacuum,” “vacation,” and “vacate.” If a word is given at the spelling bee and the definition includes something about being empty, there’s a good chance they’ll know to spell at least part of it “v-a-c”!
It also helps to know etymology, as different origins can help decipher the spelling. For example, if given the German word “seltzer” and a contestant has studied German etymology, they’ll know though there’s a soft “s” sound, German words, compared to English ones, use “t-z” more commonly for that sound.
Start Reading that Dictionary
Reading anything is helpful, but for serious study, it’s time to sit down with the beast herself: the dictionary. Contestants should read through and accustom themselves with any unfamiliar words and their spellings. Then create flashcards from any words whose spelling will need to be studied. It might be dry, but it’s a sure way to sharpen spelling skills!
While these tips should prove helpful to spelling bee contestants, anyone can use them to better their spelling skills! It’s always a good idea to brush up, even in a world with spell checking programs. You never know when it’ll come in handy!