How to Prepare for Spelling Bees

Oct, 07 2023

Participating in a spelling bee can be a thrilling and educational experience for children, helping them improve their vocabulary, language skills, and confidence. However, success in spelling bees requires dedicated preparation and support from parents.

These spelling bees are exciting competitions that test a student's ability to spell words correctly. While the traditional spelling bee format involves spelling words orally, some competitions incorporate a variety of rounds to challenge participants even further.

In this article, we will explore how to prepare for spelling bees that include rounds such as dictation, identifying correct spellings, jumbled letters, phonemic awareness, word application, completing sentences, picture crosswords, suprasegmentals, reading comprehension, and phrasal verbs. We will also explore how kids should prepare for spelling bees and how parents can assist them in this rewarding journey.

1. Start Early:

The journey to spelling bee success should begin well in advance. Encourage your child to develop a love for reading and words from a young age. Read books together, discuss interesting words, and explore etymology. A strong foundation in language and vocabulary is essential.

2. Build a Solid Word List:

Acquire a comprehensive word list that aligns with the spelling bee your child is participating in (e.g., Marrs Spelling Bee). Divide words into manageable sections and set a daily or weekly schedule for practice.

3. Learn Word Origins and Rules:

Understanding the origins of words and their rules can provide valuable clues during spelling bees. Teach your child about word roots, prefixes, and suffixes, as well as language rules and patterns.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Daily practice is key to spelling bee success. Hold spelling sessions where your child can spell words aloud, write them down, and use them in sentences. Consider using flashcards or spelling apps to make learning more engaging.

5. Encourage Memorization Techniques:

Help your child explore effective memorisation techniques like visualisation, mnemonic devices, and word associations. These methods can make it easier to remember complex words.

6. Conduct Mock Spelling Bees:

Simulate real spelling bee conditions by hosting mock spelling bees at home. This will help your child get used to the pressure, rules, and time constraints of the competition.

7. Encourage Self-Assessment:

Teach your child to evaluate their own progress. They can create a list of words they find challenging and focus on improving those areas. 

8. Stay Supportive and Positive:

Spelling bee preparation can be intense, so it's crucial to maintain a positive and encouraging atmosphere. Celebrate small achievements and provide emotional support during setbacks. 

Preparing for a spelling bee can be a rewarding experience for both children and parents. With dedication, practice, and the right support, children can enhance their language skills and confidence while participating in this educational competition. Remember that success is not solely defined by winning; the journey of learning and growth is equally important. 

In the next segment, we are going to talk about different rounds that various spelling bees can entail and how to go about preparing for specific rounds.


Dictation Round

In the dictation round, it's crucial to have a keen ear. Practice listening to words carefully and writing them down accurately. Create dictation exercises or use resources that provide audio clips for spelling practice.


Identifying Correct Spellings

This round tests your knowledge of correct spellings. Build a strong foundation by reading extensively and paying attention to spelling patterns and exceptions. Flashcards and quizzes can help reinforce your spelling skills.


Jumbled Letters

Improve your ability to unscramble letters by practising anagrams regularly. Start with simple words and gradually progress to more challenging ones.


Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness involves recognising individual sounds in words. Work on phonics and phonemic awareness exercises to help you decode and spell words accurately.


Word Application

Learn the meanings and context in which words are used. Read books, newspapers, and magazines to expand your vocabulary and understand how words are applied in sentences.


Complete the Sentence

In this round, one needs to spell a word correctly within the context of a sentence. Practice sentence completion exercises and use the word correctly in your sentences.


Picture Crossword

Enhance your visual memory by solving crossword puzzles. Some spelling bee words may be presented as clues in crossword format.



Suprasegmentals include aspects of speech like stress, intonation, and rhythm. Pay attention to pronunciation guides and practice speaking words clearly.


Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is essential for understanding the meaning and usage of words. Regularly read texts of varying difficulty levels to improve your comprehension skills.


Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and one or more particles (e.g., 'look up to'). Study common phrasal verbs and their meanings, as they are often used in everyday language.

Preparing for spelling bees with diverse rounds is a challenging yet rewarding endeavour. By honing your spelling, vocabulary, and language skills across these different areas, you can feel confident and well-prepared to excel in a spelling bee competition. Remember that consistent practice, a love for words, and a positive mindset are your greatest allies in this journey.

We, at Little Genius ensure that your kids get as much training as possible with our English Enrichment Program, Reading Circle Program, etc. We also conduct online sessions for the preparation of spelling bees. Our phonics courses also train kids on how to make spellings phonetically. So, if you wish to help your kids out with the training, know that we are also there for them.

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