Summer Spelling Bee

*Registration closes on Sunday, August 16, 2020.


Students who are in (or have recently completed) grades K-4 as of June 1, 2020 are eligible to participate in the Summer Spelling Bee.

The competition will be separated into two groups: Little Bees (ages 5-6) and Supreme Spellers (ages 7-9).


There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner in each age group. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st place: $50 gift certificate for use on Tutoring by Sydney’s writing services
  • 2nd Place: $20 gift certificate for use on Brighter Bee Academy class
  • 3rd Place: $10 Barnes and Nobles gift card

In addition, all spellers will receive a certificate of participation.


Enrollment in the Summer Spelling Course includes registration in the spelling bee competition. All students in the spelling course are guaranteed a spot in the competition. 

Students are welcome to participate in the spelling bee without enrolling in the spelling course. To do so, students must submit a $25 non-refundable registration fee that purchases entrance into the competition. Registration is on a first come first served basis. There are select seats available for the competition and registration will be closed upon reaching capacity.


Spellers will be separated by age into two groups:

  • Little Bees (Ages 5-6)
  • Supreme Spellers (Ages 7-9)

The birthday cutoff is August 30, the day of the competition. This means that on August 30, 2020:

  • Children must be between 5-9 years of age.
  • Children who are under 7 years of age will compete with the Little Bees.
  • Children who are 7+ will compete with the Supreme Spellers.

The Spelling Bee will be conducted in rounds. Each speller will spell one word per round in succession until only one contestant remains.

Bee Word List

This competition is designed to introduce children to the procedures of a spelling bee while providing an opportunity for them to put their spelling skills to the test. All words will be recognizable, commonly spoken words. Most children will know the definitions of the words presented to contestants in their age group.


We highly encourage family members and friends to watch the competition and encourage the spellers! We will share information with you on how to spectate prior to the competition.

Online Competition and Honor Code

The entire competition will be held online. During the competition, spellers should not seek external assistance or guidance, including parents, friends, dictionaries, mobile devices, etc.

During all rounds of the spelling bee, spellers are required to be situated in front of their webcam. If parents or siblings wish to be in the room with the speller, then they should be situated behind the speller so that they are visible on the webcam as well.

Before receiving their word, spellers will be asked to show their hands to the judges and they will maintain their hands in a visible location while spelling the word. 

Ultimately, the competition will rely heavily on the honor code and we appreciate each speller’s honesty and integrity!

The Judge and the Pronouncer

The spelling bee will be run by two adults: the judge (Sydney Hoff) and the pronouncer (Paula Sim, Brighter Bee Academy Instructor).

The pronouncer states the words as clearly as possible. If the word is a homonym, the pronouncer will make clear which word is being referenced by providing its definition.

The procedure that the Pronouncer will use for each word will be 1) pronounce the word 2) use the word in a sentence and 3) re-pronounce the word.

The judge determines if the speller spelled the word correctly. Judges also take an active role in the information exchanged between the pronouncer and speller. If it looks like something may confuse the speller or if the speller repeats the assigned word and pronounces it incorrectly, the judge will step in to clarify. If a judge decides that a speller has been disqualified or “out,” then the speller will not participate in future rounds.

Information for Spellers

Spellers may request definition, use in a sentence, part of speech, language of origin, and alternate pronunciation.

The speller should:

  • Repeat the word before spelling. This is to ensure that the speller heard the correct word. 
  • Look at the video camera when spelling the word.
  • Spell the word orally.
  • Ask for any pronunciation, meaning, or sentence to be repeated for clarification before saying the word.
Time Restrictions

Spellers will have 60-seconds to spell a word.

Practice Round

The Pronouncer will initiate the Spelling Bee with a practice round. There will be time for participants to ask questions before the competition begins.


Rounds in the bee continue until there is only one champion speller. If all spellers are eliminated in a given round, then all the spellers in that round continue to the next round. To win the bee, the last speller must spell his/her own word and a championship word. If a speller misses the championship word, then all the remaining spellers from the previous round will be reinstated.

Final Round

When two contestants remain in the Bee, the contestants shall be given an opportunity to spell the next word on the list. The final round shall “volley” back and forth until a contestant misspells a word. The other contestant will not receive a new word until s/he has the opportunity to spell the previously misspelled word correctly. A contestant must spell two words, in a row, correctly including the previously misspelled word from their opponent. For example: 

  • As soon as contestant 1 misses a word, contestant 2 shall be immediately given the opportunity to spell the same word (contestant 1 is not out yet)
  • If contestant 2 correctly spells that word, he/she must now spell another word correctly (still, contestant 1 is not out yet)
  • If contestant 2 then spells this his/her second word correctly, they are then declared the champion
  • If contestant 2 does not spell the second word correctly, then it goes back to contestant 1 and they are given the opportunity to then correctly spell the word that contestant 2 just misspelled (contestant 2 is not out yet)
  • This can go back and forth if the contestants can only spell one word correctly instead of two in a row. 
  • If both contestants spell the same word incorrectly, then the Spelling Master will give a new word to whichever contestant is up next (both contestants shall continue in the competition).
Criteria for Disqualification

The judge can disqualify a speller for:

  • Refusing to spell a word
  • Beginning to spell a word and then changing the order of the letters
  • Obtaining external assistance during the competition
  • Saying nonsense or unintelligible sounds

Spellers cannot be disqualified for:

  • Pronouncing words incorrectly
  • Failing to note capitalization
  • Failing to note hyphens or other punctuation 
  • Failing to note spacing on compound words
Studying for the Bee

The best way to prepare for the Bee is to enroll in Sydney’s Summer Spelling Bee Course, which is specifically designed for children seeking to learn spelling rules and to participate in this final competition. However, children can also prepare independently.


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