Looking back, a pattern in the mistakes emerges for you to learn from.
Our previous blog (Winning a Spell Bee is Hard, But Not Impossible), you got some amazing insights into finding your pattern, understanding, and recalling spellings. Looking back, our competitors showed a pattern in their mistakes. This spell bee contest is our fifth edition. We had quite a fun time with the children who joined us, hundreds of students, batch after batch in the four categories. We have had four editions so far. That gives us ample opportunities to see the mistakes children generally make. In this blog, let us put this opportunity to good use and learn from the past participants. Let us look at some interesting mistakes.
Double troubles called digraphs
The other frequent errors were with the words with repeated letters. Double letters are used to produce a certain sound. It usually emphasizes a syllable in that word. Think of verbs in past tense and continuous tense. They end in –ed or –ing and there are words that double their letters before these suffixes. Some examples are stopping, sitting, referred, etc. Words like winnow or jabberwocky have double letters and were missed. Did you know these words have a name? It is digraph. Di meaning two, graph is a representation of a basic unit of speech. You may want to keep an eye on those double troubles when you practice for our Spell bee contest.
Is it a or e?
Come on, look that the words category, reindeer, deal, let us admit, it is confusing to go by the pronunciation unless you get used to those sounds. Children did make mistakes in such words as well in our Spell Bee contest held very recently. Understanding that some consonant diagraphs that are as the word says, made of two letters but together produce one sound. Try saying cried, road, chicken. Knowing these will help your mind make a mental note of the spelling very easily. You can actually train your brain to remember them as well. So, you never go wrong in spelling such words.
Visually challenging narrow letters
This was tricky indeed and was found to happen when the Kahoot question was to choose the right spelling from a few misspelt words. Some Spell bee words like millionaire subtly missed the second “i” and some of our contestants missed them. You mayactually know the right spelling but clicked the wrong one due to oversight! So, look out for words with “i” or “l” which may be hard to spot.
Ooh! Those silent ones...
You listen to a word and do not hear some sounds. Quite a deceptive pronunciation. Think about “psychology” or “pseudo” you never hear the letter “p”. Think about “miscellaneous” or “scene”, do you hear the “c” spelled out loud? Beware of such words and be sure to make a list to be prepared. Spell bee contests are bound to have those. Rules for, b, as in tomb, c as in muscle, h as in vehement, k as in knuckle, g as in gnome, p as in pneumonia, n as in column, t as in bristle are worth taking a look.
Rules for spelling
Of course, and exceptions too. It will be a very interesting journey to take a look at the rules, not to memorize the rules but use them as a reminder for difficult words. Did you know that Q is always followed by U? You will never see S after X. Some quickies like this can be in the back burner to remind you of spellings for certain words that might be difficult to memorize. Not just that, there may be words that you do not know. The best way is to pay attention to the syllable sounds when you hear the word and the rules can be very helpful in figuring out the right spelling.
Did you hear that r?
Listen carefully to the words with vowels followed by the letter r. Yup, you almost did not hear the sound! Did you say, "really?” Try reading the next few words aloud. You will know! Barn, Govern, Bird, Thorn, Purse. So, when you listen to words, pay attention to the softened “r” sound. There is no way you will make a mistake.
Sight words are not only for kindergarteners! Put up a chart on a wall. Keep adding those words that you often misspell. Give your visual skills some load to carry. Photographic memories can come very handy. Do not put up all the words on the wall, it would clutter the space. If you have tried a lot of tricks and still are not able to spell the words, those are the ones that go on the wall.
One last thing...
Spell kahoot 5.0 is all about time and accuracy. Fastest finger gets to be on the leader board and finally top the score board. Be alert. Rest well before the session. Take your mind off to anything random and not connected to the linguistic side of your brain. A news article stated, "We show that non-language related activities, such as playing or watching a sport, enhance one's ability to understand language about their sport precisely because brain areas normally used to act become highly involved in language understanding," said Sian Beilock, Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago. So why not put it to the test? Go out for a good match or a run before the Spell Bee contest. If anything, you are sure to feel relaxed and confident.
Studying does help remembering information, no doubt there! However, neuroscience tells us that exams and tests are better ways to remember. In that case, a Spell Bee contest like 98thPercentile’s Spell Kahoot 5.0 is a great opportunity to put those brain cells to the test. Let them fire up and win you those amazon coupons.
Spellers make mistakes like missing the double or silent letters and later realize their small silly mistake has cost them the winning title. Practicing hard itself is not enough, but giving thought to self-assessment and analyzing past mistakes can save the participants from silly mistakes in the future spelling bee competitions.