Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
The Scripps National Spelling Bee, for the first time in its 86-year history, is requiring that contestants know the meanings of words, in addition to spelling them correctly. The new skill will account for 50 percent of a contestant’s total score in the contest, which began May 28. CNN has more:
Spelling Bee Director Paige Kimble said the rule change is a natural extension of the contest.
“The reason for the change is all about extending the bee’s commitment to its purpose, which long has been not only to help students improve their spelling, but also to increase the vocabulary, learn concepts and develop correct English usage,” she said.
This year’s whiz kids aren’t just good at putting vowels and consonants in the right order; 116 of them speak more than one language, and math is most frequently cited as their favorite subject, not spelling.
They range in age from 8 to 14, but nearly 90% of them are between 12 and 14 years old. The kids come from all 50 U.S. states and several American territories, plus the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.
Winning the bee has its perks. It’s not just about the $30,000 cash prize from Scripps and engraved trophy — past winners have returned home to a hero’s welcome and met with the president.
This year’s spelling competition begins Tuesday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. ESPN will broadcast the preliminary rounds starting Wednesday, with the finals slated for Thursday night.
Image: Dictionary page, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Lori Anne Madison, a 6-year-old girl from Woodbridge, Virginia, is poised to become the youngest-ever contestant in the National Spelling Bee Tuesday. The Associated Press profiles Madison, who is home-schooled and is precocious in every way:
There’s been no need for Lori Anne’s parents to push her to do anything — because she’s already way out in front dragging them along. Some kids are ahead of the curve physically, mentally or socially from a very young age. Lori Anne is the rare exception who defies the norms in every category.
She hit all her milestones early, walking and talking well before others in her play group. She was reading before she was 2. She swims four times a week, keeping pace with 10-year-old boys, and wants to be in the Olympics. When her mother tried to enroll her in a private school for the gifted, the headmaster said Lori Anne was just way too smart to accommodate and needed to be home-schooled.
“Once she started reading, that’s when people started looking strange at us, in libraries, everywhere, she’s actually fluently reading at 2, and at 2 1/2 she was reading chapter books,” Sorina said.
That meant an unexpected lifestyle change for the mother, a college professor who teaches health-related courses. Lori Anne now studies at home, mastering topics other kids her age won’t touch for several years. She wants to be an astrobiologist — a combination of her two favorite subjects, astronomy and biology.
And she speaks so fast, with well-formed diction and a touch of know-it-all confidence — just like a teenager.
Image: ABCs, via Shutterstock.
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