National Spelling Bee competition is one of the most prestigious competitions in my country where students from Grade 3 to Grade 8 showcase their talent of spelling.
We usually have the misconception that the Spelling Bee competition is all about cramming words, but in reality it is much more than that.
My first interaction with Spelling Bee came up when my school fellow stood second in the National Spelling Bee competition and won various accolades and commendation from school administration and the Spelling Bee management personnel.
It was that point where I decided to prepare for the competition.
I was in Grade 5 when my uncle got me a copy of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexander Dumas. It was an abridged version and I really enjoyed reading it. Intra-class competition was coming up so I tried finishing my book as fast as I can, while keeping a handy dictionary along the bed side. The dictionary played a significant role in the preparation because some words tend to have more than one meaning. This made me stood apart from the rest as I was he only student to answer all questions correctly.
The next week, intra-class Grade 5 spelling bee competition took place in which I represented my section. For preparation, I consulted Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” series.
Her reader-friendly script made everything so simple and easy, and my vocabulary improved. But it was never enough since there are a lot of words which you cannot pronounce properly despite knowing their correct spellings.
So, I used Google to understand the phonetics. I find it funny that until then, I had extreme trouble in pronouncing the words such as conceive, receiver, deceiver correctly. The phonetics helped me and I scored distinction, moving to the city level competition.
While preparing for City Level competition, I read as much as I could. I used to read my elder brother’s engineering books and tried to pronounce difficult words. I took my elder sister’s medical books and tried reading them out loud. It was then when I came to know about word roots, exemplified by the incident when I came across the word “karyokinesis”. This intrigued me and I was researching on word origins soon. I stood second in the city level spelling bee competition and represented on district level which was in face the National Spelling Bee Competition.
I was extremely nervous while preparing for district level spelling bee competition as I was overwhelmed by the presence of students from Grade 6 to Grade 8.
I studied hard and was careful while learning my spellings. I devoted 4 hours every day to spelling bee preparation in which I learnt about the meanings of the words I was studying, their phonetics, alternate pronunciations, grammar and correct usage in a sentence. Instead of jumping right to the spellings, I always double checked myself and even at times when I was sure about the spellings, I still asked the judges to pronounce it for me one more time with alternate spellings, part of speech and usage in a sentence. By pronouncing “Ambidextrous” correctly was declared Spelling Bee champion.