ENHANCE YOUR WORD "KNOWLEDGE"
If spelling alone is not your fancy, accentuate your studies by learning etymology, spelling rules, or expanding your vocabulary. Generally, this approach works best for a speller who already knows a fair number of words -- at least 6,000 or more. In learning more about words, it is better to have studied a number of words so when word parts are introduced, they seem familiar. Expanding word knowledge is much like 'connecting the dots' where the dots are already in place (through studying words) and the 'lines' occur when making sense of words already stored in memory, connecting related words and word parts together.
For instance, our Etyma Notes show that the Latin root, 'reg' means 'king.' A familiar word with this root is regal, which means 'royal' or 'relating to a king.' Since an easy word like regal is shown in the product along with the root, the 'ah-ha' moment sets in, connecting a dot and committing the word root to memory. Later on, when the student hears a related word such as regicide, which means 'the act of killing a king,' they may be better able to guess how to spell it because they already know that 'reg' is Latin for 'king.'
Although almost all of our products contain definitions, it wasn't until 2013 when vocabulary was officially introduced to the National Spelling Bee. Due to this change, we highly recommend that spellers slow down and read all definitions while learning how to spell words so they can at least have the chance of recognizing meanings if asked on a test or at the National Spelling Bee. Studies have shown that a solid vocabulary considerably improves SAT scores, so learning word meanings and making sense of words beyond just letters on paper is a worthy investment for you and your family.
Here are some products to help build your word knowledge:
Etyma Notes - A speller's guide to learning Latin and Greek etymology.
Spelling Rules Book - 150 page book that promotes less reliance on memorization and more on understanding of languages. View table of contents on this product's page. A customer favorite!
The Collection - eMentor - Real words given at past spelling bees (written rounds only).
New Bee Prepared - Written in 2008, this book reveals insights gained from coaching spelling for over 20 years and from attending the National Spelling Bee. The workings of the Bee, study methods, and study strategies are analyzed.
20+ Years of Spelling Bees - This is a printed collection of every Hexco newsletter printed since 1991; includes words used at all regional and national bees annually and analyzes words used in our products; also contains stories written by spellers who participated in the National Spelling Bee over the years.