Summertime Fun

There are so many great movies buzzing around now. However, spelling bee movies will never bee old. Are there swarms of people at the theaters? I’ll stop with the puns. Here is a list of great spelling bee movies.

Spellbound- This is a great documentary. It follows the 8 finalists of the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The movie was made in 2002.

Akeelah and the Bee-  This is a great movie that I would recommend for anybody. I’ve watched it so many times, I could recite half of the lines. I won’t spoil the story too much however.

Which spelling bees can you compete in?

I highly suggest participating in these because participating in as many bees is a great way to get used to spelling on stage.



How does the spelling bee work?

Most people begin with a classroom spelling bee where the words come from the school list that Scripps provides. The words will generally come from the grade level that you are in.

The next round will be the school spelling bee. Once again, Scripps provides the school list for fourth through eighth graders. It will be very beneficial to know all of these.

The next level can either be a county-wide spelling bee, or a regional spelling bee*. The first few rounds may contain words from the school list, so make sure you remember them. After that, bees may move on to words from “Spell it!” You can go to the website:, or download the PDF. Many bees at this level may go offlist, so be ready for words you may not have seen before.

The regional spelling bees tend to begin with the Spellit list. This may go on for a couple rounds. Then, the words may go offlist. However, just stay calm, and you’ll do great!

The Scripps National Spelling is held in Washington D.C. The week that it occurs in is called “Bee Week.”

*Some county bees act as the qualifying bee for nationals, so check which bee is your qualifying bee.

Why do spelling?

Many people question why the spelling bee is so acclaimed. Many people also question, “Well, what’s the point of learning so many words if you aren’t going to use most of them?”  There is so much more to a word than just the letters that make the spelling. The pronunciation is a small part. The etymology is a tumultuous saga of a word going through various languages while adapting to various cultures. For example, water, a common word. It went from Sanskrit to Greek to Latin to Gothic to Old Norse to Old High German and then finally reached English. The various facets of a word create a story of its own.

The spelling bee essentially is an endurance contest. Many bees can and do extend beyond the “allotted” time. As rounds of back-to-back spelling buzz (had to add that) by, some spellers may succumb to pressure. Those that can maintain composure amidst the cameras and lights are to be applauded.

The word knowledge gained from studying for the spelling bee is beneficial and does help people. Many words that you may have seen also can appear in many places. The most common example perhaps would be going to an Italian restaurant and seeing various kinds of pasta. Or  perhaps for those interested in biology, different names of animals. The next time you see a word, think about how you could use it.