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HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

June 01

National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week.

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National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Literacy-Related Event





Nine contestants participated in the first National Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal in 1925. Now, over 250 student champions, ranging from 9- to 15-years-old, travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Spelling Bee. The competition takes place during May each year. The National Champion receives $28,000 in cash and savings bonds as well as reference resources for his or her home library.




The National Spelling Bee competition has been broadcast nationally on ESPN and during primetime on ABC. In his article "All I Need to Know about Teaching I Learned from TV and Movies," Kenneth Lindbloom compares the competition to shows like Jeopardy. Lindbloom explains, "One might speculate that these events garner interest because they are contests with one winner and many losers. But more difficult contests-Westinghouse science winners, for example, or creative-writing contest winners-don't get the kind of publicity memorizers of trivia get." Ask your students to consider this with the following questions:

  • Why do some contests get more publicity than others? What makes the National Spelling Bee interesting to the general public?

  • Is the National Spelling Bee a sports event? Why has it been broadcast on ESPN?

  • What counts as knowledge on television? What knowledge is seen, and what kinds of knowledge are not seen?



  • Scripps National Spelling Bee

    The official homepage for the competition includes details on the student spellers, their sponsors, the rules for the competition, and statistics. During the competition, photos of the events will be added to the site.


  • Invented Spelling

    By Margaret Y. Phinney, this page from the Natural Child website explains invented spelling and emergent writing and includes suggestions designed to encourage children's writing and use of invented spellings.


  • Scholastic Spelling Resources

    This Scholastic website features essays that contain strategies aimed at integrating spelling into the reading and writing curriculum and helping students to improve their spelling skills.


  • Word Wizard

    ReadWriteThink's Word Wizard interactive allows students to spell words based on four favorite children's books. Students can read and listen to clues and click the hint button if they're stuck.



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Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Dr. Seuss's Sound Words: Playing with Phonics and Spelling

Boom! Br-r-ring! Cluck! Moo!—Everywhere you turn, you find exciting sounds. Students use these sounds to write their own poems based on Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Shared Spelling Strategies

Students increase their spelling accuracy and retention, while preserving fluency, by using sound, sight recall, and analyzing strategies instead of memorizing words, as they deal with spelling during drafting.


Grades   K – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Spelling Cheerleading: Integrating Movement and Spelling Generalizations

"2-4-6-8, students will be spelling great" in this lesson that teaches the y rule for adding suffixes through cheering the spelling of words aloud, word sorts, and writing stories.


Grades   4 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Spelling Patterns "Go Fish" Card Game

Students use sets of words that share a spelling pattern to create a card game like "Go Fish" and then play the game in groups, helping them improve their spelling.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Sort, Hunt, Write: A Weekly Spelling Program

It's easy to make spelling fun. Using a variety of activities from sorting to using words in context will help deepen students' understanding of word patterns.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Two Voices of the ow Spelling Pattern

Variable vowels are the focus of this lesson; students use nursery rhymes and ow to study how vowels can change their sounds according to different spelling patterns.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Improve Comprehension: A Word Game Using Root Words and Affixes

Students study common root words and affixes, improve their comprehension and spelling, and make a card game in which they form words with a prefix, root word, and suffix.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

You Can't Spell the Word Prefix Without a Prefix

Students explore the role of prefixes, as well as their origins and meanings, and examine how the understanding of prefixes can improve comprehension, decoding, and spelling.