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  • Spelling counts at the Spelling Bee, but in the age of the Internet, should it count anywhere else?

Comments Jun 1, 2007 12:15 am

Time Magazine has an online article on past National Spelling Bee Champs.  The link is:,28804,1624100_1624098,00.html?xid=site-cnn-partner.  As a former competitor at the state level, I can attest to the craziness - I threw up my lunch due to nerves, then supposedly misspelled "zigzag" (though "z" and "g" can sound a lot alike, and what the judges heard is not what I thought I said!)  Even after 30 years, the experience is still memorable... and traumatic.  I did get a nice dictionary as a prize, though!  Now I teach business communication, where spelling sometimes counts (on a cover letter or resume, in particular) and often doesn't (in routine emails and text messages).  It's hard to teach students that how much attention they should devote to spelling varies depending on the situation, even though they already apply that rule in their own lives - obsessive about spelling in most class documents (thinking it and other mechanical markers of correctness equal "good writing") and oblivious to it in their social communication (texting and IM).  I've read that there are now texting championships - maybe it's time to phase out the spelling bees in favor of the texting bees!

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