Spell Bee is a popular form of English language competition and is gaining huge popularity in India. The participants have to guess the correct spelling of the word given to them, if guessed correctly then they move on to the next round. The difficulty of the word increases at every stage. The child can ask the pronouncer the meaning of the word or to use it in a sentence. The speller who spells correctly till the end is the winner.
Spell Bee or English Olympiads: What is the difference?
English Olympiads are pen and paper tests where your child has to choose the answer from the given options. The focus of English olympiads is more on language ability, grammar, and knowledge of the English language. Spell bee tests your children on their word bank and the main objective is to increase your child’s knowledge and spellings of different words.
What age is perfect to start preparing for a Spell Bee?
There is no perfect age where your child should start preparing for Spell Bee. However, if your child has the interest, then they can start preparing no matter what their age is. Your child does not require any formal preparation or training routine because the preparation is based on their natural abilities. You can just sit down with your child and start from there itself. It is better to start with a simple reading habit and then work your way through the basics of spelling and words and build a strong vocabulary.
How to prepare your Child?
The first step to help your child prepare will be to know how much they know and then accordingly build their vocabulary up on that.
- Tackling the basics: It is important that you help your child clear the basics of word formation such as plurals (s, es, etc.), suffix-prefix, -ment, -tion, etc.
- Listening to the pronunciation: Your child has to develop good listening skills in order to get the spelling right. Dictations and other spelling games like this will help them in improving their listening skills.
- Synonyms and Antonyms – Your child also needs to be familiar with words and their opposites. This way your child easily learns two words at the same time. When your child is learning a word, they can also look at different words which have the same meaning to strengthen their vocabulary.
- Word Origin – If your child becomes aware of how the word is formed and the language it originates from, it will become easier for them to spell words which have the same origin.
- Dictation – Dictation is the best way to prepare for a spell bee. Your child should have regular dictations when as a mock test for spell bees, this will help them in avoiding mistakes due to stress and anxiety in the real competition.
- Homophones: You need to make your child be able to tell the difference between basic homophones such as “which” and “witch” or “son” or “sun”. It will help a lot in strengthening their word ability.
- Vocabulary / word list: Each spelling bee competition organiser provides the participants with materials from which they can look up the words. So, your child can go through these materials depending on the particular competition and the level of the competition.
Popular Spell Bee competitions in India
The following list contains the different national and international Spell Bees available in India  where your child can participate.
SpellBee International is one of the largest spell bee competitions which happens in India. The spell bee is conducted in four levels, Interschool, State/Regional, National, and International level. Your child can participate by enrolling through the school. Online registration is also available. With the help of this spell bee, your child can easily familiarize themselves with new words, etymology as well as phonology. 
Depending on the level, SpellBee International provides references and study guides which are easily available on the main website. The fee for SpellBee International is Rs. 3400 that includes a whole set of preparatory books. 
India Spelling Bee
Students from classes 1 -9 have been preparing and participating in the India Spelling Bee for the past 18 years. The spell bee is conducted in three levels- School, Regional, and National level. Your child can also participate in this spell bee by simply enrolling themselves via their school. The participation fee is Rs 100 and each participant is provided with an India Spelling Bee Guide Book.
India Spelling Bee provides your child with the opportunity to compete with other students from various parts of the country and gives them a better grasp on their vocabulary.
Wiz Spell Bee
English Wizard Foundation conducts the Wiz National Spell Bee every year all across the country with an aim to promote the English language. The spell bee is conducted in the registered schools and then the interschool, state level and the grand finale are conducted. Wiz Spell Bee is divided into 6 categories according to the classes. The school-level consists of three written rounds of 30 minutes with 30 marks each. In the inter-school level, there are a total of four rounds of duration 40 minutes and carry 50 marks each.
In order to participate, your child will have to register via their school, and then they will be provided with “Word Bank” preparatory booklet from which 70% of the questions will come during the competition. The student qualifying on the written round can go to the oral round. In the oral round, the participant must spell aloud the words given to them from a predetermined list of spelling bee words. This round is a knockout round. After the 6th word, elimination happens for misspellet words. The national and international level follow the same pattern.
MaRRS Spelling Bee
MaRRS conducts the MaRRS Spell Bee is conducted every year with the help of the registered schools under it. It is an international level spell bee which is open for all the students of classes 1-12 and helps in improving language ability and skill. At the school level students have to give an MCQ written test. They then face written and oral rounds. The written rounds consist of Dictation, Jumbled Letters, Word Application, Crossword, Idioms, and Phrasal Verbs. The oral rounds involve Spell It where students spell the words until they make a mistake, pronunciation, and finally a round of Antonyms and Synonyms. The Word Origin round deals with etymology. The written round deals with supra-segmentals.
Your child can participate in MaRRS Spell Bee by registering on the official website and paying a registration fee of Rs. 580 which will include a preparatory kit. There is also an online learning material which is available on the official website of MaRRS Spell Bee. 
Classmate Spell Bee is currently in its 11th season and is one of the biggest and most popular spell bees in the country. It is conducted in various levels – School level, City Finals, Semi-Finals, and National Finals. The first level is an online MCQ test where the students have to guess the correct spellings of 75 words in a duration of 10 mins. In the City finals, the same pattern is used but the duration is decreased to 7.5 minutes. The Semi-final round is further divided into two rounds while in the National Final is divided into three rounds where the 16 selected participants are divided into 4 groups. The winner of last round becomes the “Classmate SpellBee National Champion” of the season.
Benefits of Spell Bee competition
Your child becomes familiar with words that they otherwise wouldn’t be learning in school. Spell Bee also exposes your child to a lot of words. They also learn the meaning and origin of new words, which makes it easier for your child to use them in day-to-day life. Because of the preparatory materials that are provided, your child’s word bank increases drastically.
Boost in Confidence
Spell bees and other competitions where your child has to face others help them in improving their confidence. Your child gains a lot when they participate in spell bees. Your child’s confidence is boosted because of the opponents and the audience which they will have to face. It also helps in improving their self-esteem and they are also able to control their nerves on the stage.
Healthy Competitive Spirit
Spell bees are a good way to build up a healthy competitive spirit. When your child is competing in a spell bee and does well, it encourages them to participate more and do better. This also makes them develop a healthy way in which your child will achieve their goals in the future. Hence, the competitive environment that spell bee provides help supports a healthy mental and social growth of your child.
Enhanced Memory and Retention Ability
When your child participates in a spell bee, they are required to learn a lot of words and be familiar with them. So if they regularly practice, it helps in improving their memory. Students participating in competitions like spell bee have a better cognitive process. They are also able to memorize more, retain more and have a faster response time. This better cognitive process then results in better performance in academics at school.
Improved English Language Skills
Students who participate in spell bees gain more than just learning new words. This is because they get introduced to the process of word-formation and learn about etymology and phonetics, which is not usually taught in schools. This extra knowledge that they gain during the preparation and competition phase helps your child in gaining an edge over their peers.
20 Winning Words From Past Spelling Bees (US)
Here’s a list of 20 winning words from Spelling Bees conducted in the US which your child should know:
 Not an exhaustive list of spell bee competitions in India. We have covered some of the popular spell bee competitions
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