THE SIMPLE ART OF MEMORIZATION

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was as a mystery, cryptic, undecipherable. This was before a time of language patterns, of etymology, of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. And the only way to learn the Word was to just plain memorize it. Really, when you think about it, this was how we all learned language as children. We heard sounds, and learned to put them to letters when we started reading. And we could pat a dog's fur while learning the word soft, or feel stubble on a…

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MAKING WORDS MATTER…OR “WHAT IS A SPRINGBOK?”

School is just on the verge of beginning again for the 2017-2018 year. For spellers across the nation, this means learning Spell It and the various school study lists provided by Scripps. Preparing for bee season is about to begin! One of my students once commented that winning words in years past seem a lot easier than they do nowadays. And this is absolutely true. Consider the likes of therapy, knack, and initials. These words - and many other winning words from past national bees - are so simple, they would…

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SIRIASIS

Some spelling bee words are just plain mean. Really mean. In this category, I place the "either you know it or you don't" words...the ones that are specifically on the pronouncer's list just to eliminate a hapless speller...or to differentiate the excellent from the merely good. But the word siriasis deserves more than just membership in this group...it is one of the cruelest words I know. Siriasis has been given at least twice in the bee's history - once in 1989, and again in 2014. I'm certain, though, that given…

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