Yesterday Little Miss Techie participated in her first spelling bee through the Macy’s 7th Annual Spelling Bee. One by one each of the 50 contestants took the stage, demonstrating calm under pressure in front of a panel of three judges and countless parents as they stood up there alone at the microphone.
Those who spelled the words correctly breathed a sigh of relief after each round while those who misspelled their word, held their heads high, exiting the stage with grace and joining the audience to watch the remaining contestants.
Little Miss Techie was one of the contestants knocked out of the competition early thanks to a word that flummoxed me, friends in the audience whose children were watching and competing, and the judges when she asked for the definition of the word. It was a word we had never heard of and one that she hadn’t ever heard in context. Her first reaction was much like this!
Was she upset? No. In all honesty, I think she was a bit relieved when the exited the stage. We had talked about how there were 50 kids participating and the chances of winning the competition were slim, especially when she was on the younger end of the participating age range. It also helped that her smiling friend, Principessa, CiaoMom’s daughter, was waiting for her off stage who she could sit with when she finished!
Many schools have their own spelling bees. How can you get your child ready for an upcoming spelling bee in a realistic way that will allow them to feel confident about their abilities?
Here are 4 ways you can build confidence through spelling bees:
- Practice. Practice builds confidence in spelling whether for a spelling bee, weekly spelling tests, or just to become a more fluent writer. Spelling-Words-Well.com has long term and short term spelling practice strategies for kids along with a printable version of their Spelling Bee Practice Ideas. Merriam-Webster’s SpellIt.com works in conjunction with Scripps National Spelling Bee to serve as a study site for school spelling champions. Spell It! provides the official list of approximately 1150 words and focuses on language origin in order for contestants to “learn and remember several important rules, tips, and guidelines for spelling words in English.”
- Be realistic. Spelling bees are competitions. In the end, there can only be one winner. Providing false hope can only increase disappointment when they step off the stage.
- Be supportive. For many children, standing on the stage in front of an audience is anxiety producing. Let your child know that they only need to try their best for you to be proud of them.
- Have fun. A spelling bee isn’t indicative of your child’s spelling ability. Helping your child realize that this fun, friendly competition is a way to learn and practice will make the experience less anxiety producing and a lot more fun!
I am a member of the Everywhere Society and was provided with compensation for this post however, all opinions are my own and based on our spelling bee experience. Image courtesy of Macy’s.