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 Rules

  • All students will be seated on the stage.  The order of seats will be randomly chosen the afternoon of the spelling bee. 
  • Students will be called one at a time to the microphone. A word will be announced for the student to spell. An example sentence using the word in context will also be given.
  • The student must first say the word out loud, then spell the word clearly, and then say the word again. For example, if the word “school” is given, the student must say, “School. S-C-H-O-O-L School.”.  By first repeating the word, the student lets the judges know he/she correctly heard the word.  Then by repeating the word again at the end, the student indicates he/she is finished.
  • No outside help from other students or audience members is allowed. The student on stage must spell the word entirely on his/her own. While a student is on stage, all other students and audience members are expected to maintain complete and total silence. In addition, audience members should refrain from any indication that the student has made an error.  This might give the student an unfair advantage.  Judges reserve the right to ask parents to move out of the line of site of their student or to leave the gymnasium if necessary.
  • Students may ask the announcer to repeat the word.  In round 3 or later, they may ask for information about the word to include the linguistic origin, the definition, or the part of speech.  The student must be specific about their request. 
  • There is a time limit of one minute from the moment the word is announced for the student to finish spelling the word.
  • KG and 1st-grade students who are nervous may be accompanied onto the stage by an adult. However, the adult may not help the child spell the word.
  • If a student spells his/her word correctly, he/she advances to the next round. If a student spells his/her word incorrectly, he/she is eliminated from the spelling bee.  However, everyone walks away with a friendly round of applause and a medal. 
  • At the beginning of each grade level bee, we will continue to give the students an opportunity to step up to the microphone and practice a word. This year we will be using words from one-grade level lower to practice.  This first round is to practice the steps and help each student gain confidence.  We will then move onto words from their specific study list.  Kindergarten will use words from their study list for their practice round.
  • When a word is spelled incorrectly, that same word will be given to the next contestant. Starting in Round 3, if multiple contestants in a row all spell the same word incorrectly, then the word is discarded, the contestants will be invited back to the stage, and a new word will be given. The number of contestants that must spell a word incorrectly in order to be invited back up varies. The judges will determine the number based on the round and number of students in the round.
  • Words will progressively get more challenging from one round to the next.
  • If a student feels an alternate spelling exists for a word, they may appeal to the judges. The chair will consult Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its addenda section, copyright 2002, Merriam Webster for the final decision.  If the speller’s spelling is listed in the named dictionary, the speller will be invited back if all the following is met: 1) the pronunciations of the words are identical, 2) the definitions of the words are identical and 3) the words are clearly identified as being standard variants of each other.  This year’s study guides include variants to allow for these choices.  (Example:  theater or theatre).

Tips

  • The spelling bee is intended to be a fun and friendly contest, and it is our hope that every student will walk away feeling proud to have participated. However, when a student is eliminated from the contest, it is natural to feel some disappointment. For kids who take disappointment especially hard, it may help to understand that there is an element of luck involved in a spelling bee. We have worked hard to ensure fairness by giving words of the same difficulty level in any given round. However, which specific word each student gets on his/her turn is unavoidably a matter of luck.
  • Students should learn the 100 study words for their grade level (150 words for 5th grade) obtained by clicking on Word Lists.  Additional preparation ideas can be found in the document How to Study for a Spelling Bee.
  • Tips for Success from Scripps Site
    1. For inspiration, watch the documentary Spellbound on family movie night.
    2. Keep a "great words" journal for every new and interesting word that you find. 
    3. Designate a spelling wall in your home. Post new words to the wall each day. 
    4. For family game night, conduct an impromptu themed spelling bee. Use a newspaper for a current events bee or a cookbook for a cuisine bee. 
    5. Do like Akeelah did. Spell and jump rope!
    6. Ask friends and neighbors to challenge you with great spelling words. 
    7. Find a good luck charm—perhaps shoelaces with a bumblebee design or a special coin.
    8. Read great books. You'll be entertained while you effortlessly improve your spelling and increase your vocabulary.
    9. Scour the dictionary in search of words to stump your parents and teachers.