Spelling is essential to be successful in life. It is the foundation on which we build our reading, writing and comprehension skills. That is why two years ago the Times-News began hosting a regional spelling bee each February for Magic Valley students in first to eighth grades. It is an opportunity to challenge our students to learn that they can conquer something difficult through practice. They may discover that some words are spelled the way they are because they are Greek or Latin-based. And most importantly, they will discover they have become better spellers.
This week, the Times-News will print more than 18,000 spelling guides and distribute them to Magic Valley students. These guides are the textbook for their school’s spelling bee, held in January, after which the winners from each school will participate in the regional bee. The Times-News pays for the winner of the regional bee and one parent to attend the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in early May.
Watching these students nervously compete on stage under bright lights is an exciting evening. It is also awe-inspiring to watch these kids spell words I have never even heard of. The excitement for most spellers may culminate in one evening at the Roper Auditorium, but it more than just a competition. If in preparation for these spelling bees, students spend even a few minutes practicing spelling and learning something they didn’t know before, then we have helped make a difference.
Be on the lookout for your student to bring home their spelling guide this week. As parents and grandparents, we hope you will take some time to practice with your student. Whether or not they participate or win their class spelling bee, we can help them all win by becoming a little better at spelling and begin to build a foundation for success.