Resources for Students
Spelling bees: It's more than memorizing letters
Get used to making informed guesses.
It's pretty much impossible to memorize all 450,000 words in the dictionary. So, contestants need to make educated guesses instead, based on their knowledge. A spelling bee requires students to stop and think things through, then proceed to the best of their knowledge. It’s mostly memorization, but there’s critical thinking involved. The brain has to switch between different types of words because the kind of word could make a difference with even one letter.
Additionally, spelling bees aren't just about smarts. They're also performances. So, you have to learn how to spell in front of people, without getting nervous.
There is no secret list that you can obtain when studying for the District Spelling Bee. The words that are used at the District Spelling Bee can come form:
- 2020 Rules for Running a Spelling Bee
- 2020 Study Lists - all grade levels, including vocabulary for middle school (Check back this fall)
- 2020 Spell It! (printer-friendly) (Check back this fall)
- 2020 Great Words, Great Works booklist (Check back this fall)
- Unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary published by Merriam–Webster
For any spelling bee:
- Read How to Study for a Spelling Bee by national finals pronouncer, Dr. Jacques Bailly.
For a classroom, grade level or school-wide spelling bee:
Step One: Students should first learn the 100 study words for their grade level from the 2019 School Spelling Bee Study List. Teachers provide study words to students.
Step Two: Study all grade levels 1-8, which could be included in both the school and district Bees.
- Step Three: When your student mastered the study words for grade levels 1–8, they may get a head start on the next level of competition by learning the words in Spell It!
For a district or state spelling bee:
Step One: Ensure that your school spelling champion knows the study words for grade levels 1–8.
Step Two: When your school spelling champion masters the study words for grade levels 1–8, she/he is ready to learn the words and do the activities in Spell It!.
- Step Three: When your school spelling champion masters the words in Spell It!, she/he is ready to expand his spelling skill set by playing the fun word games at Merriam-Webster's Word Central.