Scripps National Spelling Bee goes high-tech with student prep

Scripps National Spelling Bee goes high-tech with student prep
Posted at 11:15 AM, Sep 26, 2016

The thousands of schools that enroll in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this year will unlock a new level of learning, giving teachers and students clear paths to make connections between spelling, vocabulary and reading. For the 2016-2017 program, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is fully integrating book titles and technology from its presenting sponsor, Kindle, into the creation of the school-level study lists to be distributed to the nearly 11 million participating students. Study materials include hundreds of words selected exclusively from books available on Kindle e-readers.

These study materials equip teachers to easily combine lessons in spelling, vocabulary and reading. Students can build their vocabulary and reading skills while gaining helpful context about the spelling words as they appear in the books. Reading the books that include study list words is not a requirement of the Bee program, but it certainly can be an added benefit.

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee and Kindle both recognize the synergy of reading and spelling,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “Now, our study materials guide students to fiction and nonfiction titles that include the words they need to know to advance in their local spelling bee program. Students can see the words come to life and have a more meaningful learning experience through the power of great books. This is an unprecedented development by the Scripps National Spelling Bee and it reflects the cohesive relationship we share with Kindle.”

The study list includes both spelling words and book titles for grade levels 1–8 including popular books like “Nate the Great” by Marjorie Weinman Sharma for first grade, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl for fifth grade and “The Terrifying Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe for eighth grade.  The complete list of books is available to schools that enroll in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program.

“Our mission is to enable and inspire a passion for reading at any age and we believe that great spellers come from great readers,” said Arthur van Rest, director, Kindle E-Readers. “With these reading lists, students will be able to see study list words in context, leading to better comprehension. With features like Word Wise, Vocabulary Builder and Dictionary Lookups, Kindle e-readers give students the confidence and tools to take on more challenging books.”

All Kindle e-readers are purpose-built for reading and feature displays that are easy to read with no glare, even in bright sunlight, have battery life that is measured in weeks rather than hours, and are lightweight and easy to hold and read on for hours. All Kindle e-readers come equipped with the following tools to provide an improved reading experience that leads to greater comprehension, a stronger vocabulary and a better, uninterrupted reading experience:

Vocabulary Builder — Compiles words readers look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list from words readers explore through the dictionary option. Readers can use these lists to quiz themselves with flashcards and instantly see words in context until they have mastered them.

Word Wise — Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words to help readers take on more challenging books. The reader can adjust the level of help needed. Every source book used to create the Scripps National Spelling Bee school spelling bee study list is enabled with Word Wise.

Kindle FreeTime — With Kindle FreeTime, kids can read books in a simple, fun and safe environment designed specifically for them. Kids are rewarded with achievement badges when they reach their reading milestones, and a progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books read.
Enrollment is now open for the 2016-2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee program.  School enrollment takes place exclusively at Interested students, parents and schools can use the search function to see if a school is enrolled and can get additional information about the program.

Once enrolled, teachers and administrators have access to everything they need to run a classroom or school spelling bee, such as:

  • Online access to the teachers-only section of
  • Official study lists for students, organized by grade level
  • Official list of book titles used to select study list words (all titles are available to download on Kindle e-readers)
  • Study materials for each school spelling champion
  • The 2017 Classroom Pronouncer Guide
  • The 2017 School Pronouncer Guide

The early bird school enrollment fee is $145 until Oct. 14. The cost goes up to $220 per school between Oct. 15-Dec. 12.  For home school students, the family enrollment fee is $102 during the early bird window and the cost is $177 from Oct. 15-Dec. 12. Each school’s coordinator receives immediate access to study and program materials upon payment.

For any businesses, community organizations, or colleges and universities considering sponsorship, the local spelling bee program costs about $5,000 annually. That cost includes the local sponsor coordinating and paying for the local spelling bee program for all schools within a set area. The sponsor manages the regional bee event for the area and coordinates travel arrangements for the local bee champion to compete at the National Finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, May 29-June 2, 2017.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee currently is looking for sponsors in Minneapolis, South Bend, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio.