2010 Paris Spelling Bee

2009 Spelling Bee Finalists examine prizes before the start of the competition

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.

~Woody Allen

Thank you for your interest in the Paris Spelling Bee.  Registration for the 2010  season is now closed. Congratulations to all those who have entered the contest. You will be receiving information for the mandatory April 10 Preliminary Written Round in the next few days. All registered contestants should have received a confirmation of their registration by the end of this week.

Don’t just stand there! Try and learn the words from the Word List for your grade group (see the Word List tab) and show up on April 10th!

Study tips:

1.  How to Study for a Spelling Bee : Simple Tips and Tricks can Help any Speller: Read more at Suite101: How to Study for a Spelling Bee: Simple Tips and Tricks can Help any Speller http://middle-school-preparation.suite101.com/article.cfm/how-to-study-for-a-spelling-bee

2. How to start a Bee Study Club? http://www.canada.com/canspell/pdf/students/StudyClubs.pdf

3. Have fun with some of the spelling games listed on the links section of this blog.

Good luck!

Paris Spelling Bee Team

2010 Paris Spelling Bee registration opens..

Take part in the third annual Paris Spelling Bee! This community wide event is open to children from CE2-4eme (3rd through 8th grade) who participate in the preliminary written round on Saturday April 10th.  Finalists from the preliminaries will move on to the May 30th Finals, an oral competition. There will be  a mock /practice session on Sunday May 9th for the finalists. Registration, by mail, opens on 25 January and ends on 22 March. The Spelling Bee organizers will be at the American Library as part of their Open House on Saturday March 13th, 14h00-18h00, to answer your questions and take registration forms. You’ll need to bring the registration payment for the bee (see “upcoming events” for details) to complete the process.

The Paris Spelling Bee is modeled after bees held by schools at the local, state and national level in the United States. Last year 25 finalists from 18 different schools in the Paris region competed in the 2nd annual Paris Spelling Bee at the American Library in Paris.

During the Preliminary and Final competition, children will be grouped into two categories:
The Gazelles — CE2-CM2 (3rd grade through 5th grade);
and The Cheetahs — 6eme through 4eme (6th grade through 8th grade).

Study Word List for the April 10th preliminary written round, for registered participants, has now been posted under “Word List,” tab. There are 200 words for the Gazelles and 205 words for the Cheetahs to study from. The list was last updated on March 11th. There will be 25 words given to each group on the day of the preliminary written round.

Suggested material:
We have enjoyed and benefited from the following resources: How to Spell Like a Champ, a book that includes a 75-minute interactive audio CD following a child from a classroom bee to the finals. Spellbound: an award-winning documentary, which follows eight American spellers from their regional bees through to the conclusion of the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC; Akeelah and the Bee: a motion picture about a young girl from South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee. Other useful links your children, students and teachers might enjoy are:  Welcome to the Spelling Bee Hive!; The Times Spelling Bee/UK; Canwest Canspell/Canada (teachers); Canwest Canspell/ Canada (students); Denver Public Schools Semantics/US and word games at Merriam-Webster online and Funbrain.com’s spellcheck.

The Paris Spelling Bee is organized by Gifted in France in collaboration with the American Library in Paris.

During the first two years, children registered according to their ages. This year however, registration is according to the participant’s current academic year/or grade.

We are still searching high and low for dedicated volunteers as
well as donors who can contribute towards the purchase of trophies, rental of venue for the preliminary, prizes etc.

If you would like to help us with prizes, become our cosponsors, or extend your help with carrying out the logistics for this event, please contact parisfrancespellingbee@gmail.com .

Thank you for your interest and support!

The Bee Team

(updated March 11, 2010)


2009 Spelling Bee Winners pix by Howley, Paul CIMG2327

left to right: Loic Lescoat, 1st place for Gazelles; Niamh Howley 2nd place for Gazelles;  Jimmy Root 1st place for Cheetahs; Amelie Matisse 2nd place for Cheetahs

June 7, 2009

Paris, France

Twenty-five finalists from 18 different schools in the Paris region competed in the 2nd annual Paris Spelling Bee on Sunday June 7th at the American Library in Paris. Children were grouped into two categories:  Gazelles for the 7-9 year-olds and Cheetah’s for the 10-13 year-olds.

Jimmy Root, a 12 year-old  from Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel  (EABJM),  won the first prize trophy for the Cheetahs, beating out last year’s champion Amelie Matisse in the 25th round by correctly spelling the word ufology.  Eleven-year-old Amelie, from Ecole Active Bilingue  Parc Monceau, sparred with Jimmy for 13-rounds before taking the second-place trophy.

Nine-year-old Loic Lescoat from Ecole Michel-Ange took the first prize among the Gazelles in the 22nd round following a heated battle with nine-year-old  Niamh Howley from  Institute de l’Assomption-Lubeck .  Loic’s winning word was pesticide after a 14-round duel with Niamh who won the second-place trophy.  Niamh also attends the Roaming School House for English instruction.

Both first-place winners also received a full-family membership for the American Library in Paris . WH Smith bookstore and the American Library donated books to the contestants, while the Roaming School House contributed to the cost of trophies.  American Library Director Charlie Trueheart and journalist Anne Swardson served as the official pronouncers.

The event was a community enrichment activity organized by Gifted in France (giftedinfrance.blogspot.com).  Contestants had to meet the age requirements and participate in the April 4th written preliminary round.  All 34 children who participated in the preliminary testing qualified for the June 7th oral competition.

Below are the rest of the winners and finalists.

In the Cheetahs group, EAB Monceau’s 11 year-old Alexandra Sasha Tsovma finished in third place,  10 year-old Caroline Rice of Lennen Bilingual School finished in fourth place, while EABJM’s Lydia Field and Anne-Sophie Fayet  of Institut Notre-Dame tied for fifth place.  Both Lydia and Anne-Sophie are 11 years-old.

In the Gazelles group, eight year-old Jack Souami, who placed 2nd place last year, finished in third place this year.  He attends the French public school Ecole Velpeau and the Roaming School House.  Nine-year-old Julia Connelly of EABJM finished in fourth place. Adria Neissner of Eurécole and Louis Miller of Sections International de Sèvres, both 8 years-old, tied for fifth place.

Any parent or school interested in participating in the 2010 Paris Spelling Bee is encouraged to contact Helen Sahin Connelly by emailing ParisFranceSpellingBee@gmail.com as soon as possible so that logistical planning of the next event can begin.

Gazelles (7-9 year-olds)

Ecole Michel-Ange, CM1
Institut de L’Assomption/ The Roaming School House  CM1
Ecole Velpeau/Roaming School House CE2
EAB Jeannine Manuel, CM1
Sections Int. de Sèvres, CE1
Eurecole CE2 Gabrielle VOIRIOT
Section Int. de Sevres, CE1
Taeyon KIM
American School of Paris, CE2
Ecole Froment, CM1
Ecole La Fontaine, CE2
Gabriellea VOIRIOT Section International de Sevres, CE1
Ecole Jean Rostand, CM2
Ecole Charles Péguy, CM1
Einin O’DONNELLEcole Froment/Roaming School House CE1

Cheetahs (10-13 year-olds)

S. James ROOT
EAB Jeannine Manuel Théâtre, 5ème
EAB Monceau, 6ème
Alexandra Sasha TSOVMA
EAB Monceau, 6ème
Caroline RICE
Lennen Bilingual School, CM2
EAB Jeannine Manuel Théâtre, CM2
Anne-Sophie FAYET
Institut Notre-Dame, CM2
EAB Jeannine Manuel Théâtre, 5ème
Ecole Hattemer, 3ème
Ecole Velpeau and the  RSH, CM2
Victor Hugo, 6ème
Brielle Boisson de Chazournes              Ecole Rochefoucald and the RSH, 6eme Cliona O’DONNELL
Ecole Froment/British Council, CM


Charlie Trueheart, Director, American Library in Paris;  Anne Swardson, Journalist

Bee thankful!

The Paris Spelling Bee is most grateful to the American Library in Paris
for hosting the Bee for the second year in a row. For the prizes, we thank ALP for giving full family memberships to first-place winners in each category. We also thank both WH Smith bookstore and the ALP for donating books to the contestants along with the Roaming School House for contributing towards the cost of the trophies.

Bee Thankful again!

A world of thanks to all the volunteers who helped us along the way.  Special thanks to Jude Smith, Rose Burke, Janet Hoffman, Josh O’Donovan and Cate O’Connor.  Without them… well let’s not even think about it!

Visit our blogs

parisfrancespellingbee.wordpress.com             giftedinfrance.blogspot.com

2009 Paris Spelling Bee finals: 2009 Paris Spelling Bee Contestants in the Gazelles group (7-9 year-olds) Left to right: Lily Lepage (15), Julia Connelly (66), Loic Lescoat (65), Niamh Howley (39), Gabriel Bugeaud (71), Ella Quainton (30), Emma Newman (84). Front row, left to right: Einin O'Donnell (33), Adria Niessner (24), Jack Souami (90), Louis Miller (23), Gabrielle Voiriot (41), Taeyon Kim (69)
2009 Paris Spelling Bee Contestants in the Gazelles group (7-9 year-olds) Left to right: Lily Lepage (15), Julia Connelly (66), Loic Lescoat (65), Niamh Howley (39), Gabriel Bugeaud (71), Ella Quainton (30), Emma Newman (84). Front row, left to right: Einin O'Donnell (33), Adria Niessner (24), Jack Souami (90), Louis Miller (23), Gabrielle Voiriot (41), Taeyon Kim (69)



Paris, France


The 2009 Paris Spelling Bee rules are a simplified version of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The Scripps bee, however, operates under a more complex set of rules, which contain provisions that are specific to unique conditions at its annual event.



1. Eligibility

2. Format

3. End-of-bee procedure

4. Speller’s role

5. Pronouncer’s role

6. Judges’ role

7. Time constraints

8. Source of words/ official dictionary

1. Eligibility:

A speller qualifying for the 2009 Paris Spelling Bee must meet these requirements:

The speller must have registered and paid for participation in the preliminary Paris Spelling Bee as outlined in the official blog https://parisfrancespellingbee.wordpress.com/. The speller must have registered and paid for participation in the final competition on or before May 24, 2009.

The Paris Spelling Bee is open to children 7-13 years-old. Age limit: the child must not be older than 13 before July 1, 2009.  Children who are 7-9 years-old may request to participate with the 10-13 year-olds. However, it will be up to the organizers to review and approve this request.  The Paris Spelling Bee may disqualify prior to or during competition any speller who is not in compliance with any of the above Eligibility Requirements.

2. Format:

The spellers are grouped into one of two categories: The Gazelles, for the 7-9 year-olds.

The Cheetahs, for the 10-13 year-olds. The final competition consists of rounds of oral spelling. All spellers spell one word in each round.

In a round, the pronouncer calls each speller, in the same order, to come up to the microphone. The pronouncer says a word. If the speller misspells the word, the judges ring a bell. The pronouncer will offer the correct pronunciation and then he or she takes a seat in the audience. If the speller correctly spells the word, he or she continues to sit with the contestants and proceeds to the next round. The next round starts when all spellers of the previous round have received and spelled a word.

If all spellers in a round spell incorrectly, then a new round begins with all of those spellers—all remain in the competition and spell in their original order.  All spellers eliminated in the same round are tied for the same place. See the end-of-bee procedure, Rule 3, for how the winner is determined.

3. End-of-bee procedure:

If only one speller in a round spells correctly: If only one speller spells correctly in a round, a new one-word round begins and the speller is given an opportunity to spell the next word on the list (anticipated winning word). If the speller succeeds in correctly spelling the anticipated winning word in this one-word round, the speller is declared the champion.

If a speller misspells the anticipated winning word in a one-word round: A new round begins with all the spellers who spelled (correctly and incorrectly) in the previous round. These spellers spell in their original order.

4. Speller’s role:

The speller makes an effort to face the judges and pronounce the word for the judges before spelling it and after spelling it. The speller while facing the judges makes an effort to utter each letter distinctly and with sufficient volume to be understood by the judges.

Pronunciation of the English alphabet: The speller must use the correct American/English pronunciation for the letters in the given word.  Failing to pronounce the letters correctly will result in the speller being eliminated.

For example, the speller cannot mix up “g” and “j”, and “i” and “e.”

In English:

“g” sounds like “gee” (which rhymes with “he”)

“j” sounds like “jay”

“i” sounds like “eye” or the i sound in “bye”

“e” sounds like the “e” in “me”

To practice hearing the sounds of the English letters you can visit: http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/anglais/prononciation/alphabet.html

Starting over: Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning, but in retracing there can be no change in letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence are changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.

Gazelles may ask for the word and or the sentence to be repeated and for a definition.

Cheetahs may ask for 1) the word and or the sentence to be repeated, 2) for a definition, 3) part of speech, 4) language(s) of origin and 5) alternate pronunciations.

Misunderstandings: The speller is responsible for any misunderstanding of the word unless (1) the pronouncer never provided a correct pronunciation; (2) the pronouncer provided incorrect information regarding the definition, part of speech, or language of origin; or (3) the speller correctly spelled a homonym of the word and the pronouncer failed to either offer a definition or distinguish the homonyms.

Triple SSS suggestion:

It is suggested that as often as possible, the speller use the triple SSS rule: Say it, Spell it, Say it again. This gives the pronouncer and the judges a chance to make sure the speller understood and repeated the word correctly, it gives the speller a chance to think about the word before spelling it. The speller will not be disqualified for failing to use the triple SSS suggestion.

5. Pronouncer’s role:

The pronouncer strives to pronounce words according to American English standards.

Homonyms: If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer indicates which word is to be spelled by saying the word in a sentence.

Speller’s requests: Gazelles may ask for the word and or the sentence to be repeated and for a definition. Cheetahs may ask for 1) the word and or the sentence to be repeated, 2) for a definition, 3) part of speech, 4) language(s) of origin and 5) alternate pronunciations.

The pronouncer does not entertain root word questions, requests for alternate definitions, or requests for markedly slower pronunciation.

Pronouncer’s sense of helpfulness: The pronouncer may offer word information—without the speller having requested the information—if the pronouncer senses that the information is helpful.

6. Judges’ role:

The judges uphold the rules and determine whether or not words are spelled correctly. The decisions of the judges are final.

Interaction with the speller: Because seeing lip movements may be critical in detecting misunderstandings or misspellings, the judges encourage spellers to face them when pronouncing and spelling the word.

Misunderstandings: The judges participate in the exchange of information between the speller and pronouncer if they feel that clarification is needed. Also, the judges listen carefully to the speller’s pronunciation of the word; and, if they sense that the speller has misunderstood the word, the judges work with the speller and pronouncer until they are satisfied that reasonable attempts have been made to assist the speller in understanding the word within the time constraints described in Rule 7. While the judges are responsible for attempting to detect a speller’s misunderstanding, it is sometimes impossible to detect a misunderstanding until a spelling error has been made. The judges are not responsible for the speller’s misunderstanding.

Pronouncer errors: If the judges feel that the pronouncer has mispronounced a word, they will direct pronouncer to correct the error as soon as it is detected.

Disqualifications for reasons other than clear misspelling: The judges will disqualify a speller who refuses a request to start spelling; who does not approach the microphone when it is time to receive the word; who engages in unsportsmanlike conduct; who, in the process of retracing a spelling, alters the letters or sequence of letters from those first uttered; or who, in the process of spelling, utters unintelligible or nonsense sounds.

Speller activities that do not merit disqualification: The judges may not disqualify a speller (1) for failing to pronounce the word either before or after spelling it, (2) for asking a question, or (3) for noting or failing to note the capitalization of a word.

7. Time constraints:

The speller’s time at the microphone has a limit of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Time begins when the pronouncer first pronounces the word. At 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the speller will be asked to spell the word or step down.

8. Source of words:

The Gazelle’s words will come from the Fry’s List of 1000 sight words (source: http://candohelperpage.com/sightvocab_1.html#anchor_374 ) See: “The Hundred’s Word List (FRY) (In PDF format)”  First Hundred through Tenth Hundred.” .

The Cheetah’s words were compiled from lists that frequently appear in American local, state and national spelling bees. These lists of words have been made available to the contestants on or before April 13, 2009.  The pronouncer will t use the word lists until they have been exhausted.  However,  when it becomes necessary, the pronouncer will refer to a special list of challenge words that impartial members of the jury have prepared. These special lists will not be disclosed to the contestants ahead of time. The Paris Spelling Bee accepts American and British spellings.

2009 Paris Spelling Bee

Dear Bees,

See you at the practice session on May 24th at the American Library at 14h00-16h00.

Don’t forget to bring your list of words.

For the Gazelles, we will be using words from Dr. Fry’s 1000 Instant Words: The Most Common Words for Teaching Reading,Writing and Spelling

Click on the below categories to see the Fry’s list of words:

Dr Fry’s 1000 Words

First 100 Words Second 100 Words Third 100 Words

Fifth 100 Words Sixth 100 Words Seventh 100 Words

Eigth 100 Words Ninth 100 Words Tenth 100 Words

For the Cheetahs, your word list was sent to you by email on April 13th.

Good luck everyone!!

The Bee Team

This just in… Le Tournoi d’orthographe 2009

WATCH ON FRANCE 3 -Le Tournoi d’orthographe 2009

22 Avril — France 3, 20h35 !!!!

Dear Gazelles and Cheetahs,

Emma’s dad just informed us that the French version of the spelling bee final is airing Wednesday April 22 at 20h35 on France 3. If you click on the below site, you will also see a documentary which profiles the finalists who participated at the school and regional level.

Le Tournoi d’orthographe 2009 22 Avril — France 3, 20h35

Dédié aux élèves de 5ème et conçu en association avec le Ministère de l’éducation nationale, le tournoi d’orthographe consiste à épeler correctement les mots tirés au sort par le jury. Organisé pour la première fois dans 12 collèges de 12 académies, la première phase du tournoi a déjà révélé les noms des 12 meilleurs candidats. Après s’être qualifiés dans leur propre établissement, les élèves ont participé aux finales régionales à Bordeaux, Lyon, Paris et Strasbourg. Trois candidats venus de chaque zone géographique ont finalement été retenus pour participer à la Grande Finale nationale, devant un grand jury composé de personnalités représentatives de la culture française. Ils s’affronteront le 22 avril sur France 3, à 20h35 pour décrocher le titre de « lauréat de France d’Orthographe ». L’enjeu : remporter un voyage à Rome pour toute leur classe. –

–Enjoy! Bee Team


Preliminary Bee results from April 4, 2009


Thirty-four students, from a cross-section of schools, participated in the second annual 2009 Paris Spelling Bee written preliminary rounds on Saturday April 4th at the Irish Cultural Center in Paris. The annual event, organized by Gifted in France, is a community-wide enrichment activity open to all children who are 7-13 years-old.  Contestants were grouped according to their age and were given written tests of 15 words in each of the two rounds.  Word list for the Gazelles, (7-9 year-olds) were taken from  Fry’s List of High Frequency Words. The Cheethas (10-13 year-olds) faced a much more difficult list of words.

Following are the names of the contestants with top scores. They, along with the rest of their peers who participated at the written preliminary, will advance to the oral finals on June 7th at the American Library in Paris.  Due to space restrictions, the June event will only be open to the contestants and their families.

GAZELLES (7-9 year-olds)

Names appear in alphabetical order

Round 1 Round 2 Last name First name
Bugeaud Gabriel
Connelly Julia
Howley Niamh
Lepage Lily
Lescoat Loic
Miller Louis
Newman Emma
Niessner Adria
Quainton Ella
Souami Jack
Yoo Seungwoo Daniel

Gazelles Qualifying Round 1: use, like, see, part, much, spell, after, different, learn, school, face, black, horse, circle, nothing.  Gazelles Qualifying Round 2: three, letter, sentence, because, country, father, once, children, questions, travel, paint, third, cannot, beautiful, voice (words were taken from Fry’s 1000 words)

CHEETAHS (10-13 year-olds)

Names appear in alphabetical order

Round 1Qualifying round top scores Round 2Challenge round top scores Overall placement

both rounds

Last Name Name
Charra Julia
Connelly Shannon
Fayet Anne-Sophie
Field Lydia
Langdon Taylor
Matisse Amelie
McCafferty Natalie
Rice Caroline
Root S. James
Souami Adam
Tsovma Alexandra

Qualifying Round 1— Precision, strengthen, destitute, foliage, thorough, calibrate, decrepit,  gracious, transparent, calamity, graffiti, latitude, syringe, melancholy, altercation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Challenge Round 2— Resemblance, ventilation, infinitesimal, malingerer, fulgurant, omnivore, humongous/humungous, fermentation, deciduous, shrapnel, sedentary, omnipresent, locution, accelerate, efficacy. (Cheetahs were not given a word list in advance)

Congratulations to all the contestants who showed great courage and talent in the preliminary rounds. Just getting out of bed on a Saturday morning to attend the written bee deserves an applause! The 34 buzzing bees going to the June finals include the following: GAZELLES— Zoé Benaissa/ Gabriel Bugeaud/Julia Connelly/ Jessica Guy/Niamh Howley// Taeyon Kim/ Lily Lepage/ Loic Lescoat/  Louis Miller/ Emma Newman/ Adria Niessner/Einin O’Donnell/Sarah Perrin-Bergot /Ella Quainton/ Jack  Souami/ Gabrielle Voiriot/and  Daniel Yoo, Seungwoo. CHEETAHS : Ines Avenel/ Emily Boisson de Chazournes/ Brielle Boisson de Chazournes/ Julia Charra/ Shannon Connelly/ Anne-Sophie Fayet/Lydia Field/ Taylor Langdon/ Amèlie Matisse/  Natalie McCafferty/ Cliona O’Donnell/ Paris Pryor/ Caroline Rice/ S. James  Root/ Matthew Rousseau/ Adam Souami and Alexandra Tsovma


Sunday 24 May 2009 13h30-16h00

2009 Paris Spelling Bee MOCK competition

American Library in Paris 10, rue du Général Camou 75007 Paris

All the above mentioned contestants are invited and encouraged to participate. We will go over all the important rules of a spelling bee, techniques to use during an oral bee, and do a mock competition that would resemble an actual oral bee. Come and meet the other bees and  if there’s time we’ll play scrabble and boggle. Please RSVP 2009parisspellingbee@gmail.com to confirm your attendance.

We wish all the contestants luck at the 2009 Paris Spelling Bee finals in June.  The Cheetahs will receive an email with a list of words to study.  The Gazelles should keep working on the Fry’s list. (Source for this list: Dr. Fry’s 1000 Instant Words: The Most Common Words for Teaching, Reading, Writing and Spelling.” To see the complete list of Fry’s list, separated by the 100’s go to: http://candohelperpage.com/sightvocab_1.html#anchor_374

This page was last updated on: December 7, 2008

The Hundred’s Word List (FRY) (in PDF format) (Acrobat Reader) First Hundred Second Hundred, Third Hundred Fourth Hundred Firth Hundred Sixth Hundred Seventh Hundred Eigth Hundred Ninth Hundred Tenth Hundred

Great Job!!

The Spelling Bee Team

2009 Invitation

2009 Paris Spelling Bee Invitation


Dear Parisian Bees,

You are invited to participate in the second annual Paris Spelling Bee, which is open to all children who are 7-13 years-old.   We held our first Spelling Bee last year at the American Library in Paris and this year we are encouraging more children to join the event.

The deadline for registering is April 1, 2009.  There will be a preliminary written spelling test on Saturday April 4th, 10h00-12h00. The finalists will then go onto the oral finals on June 7 at the American Library in Paris. You can see ALP’s most recent newsletter, Ex Libris,  for the announcement, which includes the names of last year’s winners.  There will be first and second prize trophies for the winners and medals for all contestants who complete the finals in June.

Finalists will have an opportunity to attend a meeting where they will be invited to watch the documentary Spellbound, play scrabble and review spelling rules.  Finalists will also receive a list of words to guide them into the final bee. Thanks to the American Library, we will organize a mock-competition, in mid-May, to give the contestants a chance to practice their oral spelling under similar conditions as the real bee.

Last year, we had 18 children participate in the final bee, which was divided into two groups: Gazelles (7-9 year-olds) and Cheetahs (10-13 year-olds). The contestants came from a cross-section of schools in Paris.

To obtain registration forms please email:  2009parisspellingbee@gmail.com.

Below, are important details that have been distributed on the bee.

Please read carefully the following information

if your student or child is interested in the bee:

April 1, 2009 Deadline for completed and signed registration forms must be received by April 1. To receive your registration form, please email 2009parisspellingbee@gmail.com
April 4, 2009 Written Spelling Bee Test for those who’ve pre-registered, will be held at: The Irish Cultural Centre , on 5, rue des Irlandais 75005. Tentative time: 10h00-12h00. On this day, each age group (7-9 and 10-13 year-olds) will be given a list of words. Then about 24 children, in total, will be short-listed based on their performance on the written part and advance to the oral finals in June.
June 7, 2009 2009 Paris Spelling Bee, orals, to be held at the American Library for the finalists.
Cost: There will be a 5€ registration fee, per family, to pay for the April 4th venue and related expenses. If the child becomes a finalist, there will be another 5€ fee to cover the costs of trophies, certificates, medals and printed material.
Age requirements and limitations: Event is open to children 7-13 years-old. Age limit: the child must not be older than 13 years-of-age before July 1, 2009. Children who are 7-9 years-old may request to participate with the 10-13 year-olds. However, it will be up to the organizers to review and approve this request.

Benefits of Spelling Bees: “Spelling bees help to promote literacy by providing children with a positive goal to work toward, and give them a forum to display the fruits of their hard work. In addition to improving spelling, the bees also aid children in learning concepts, improving comprehension and developing study skills. The benefits of spelling bees extend beyond language: Since children are required to spell words while on stage, kids also develop self-confidence, communication and public speaking skills, and the ability to thrive under pressure,” (source: canspell)

SUGGESTED MATERIAL/LINKS: Two of our favorite tools used last year came from  this study link: First was a book: How to Spell Like a Champ, which includes a 75-minute interactive audio CD following a child from a classroom bee to the finals. The second was a documentary called: Spellbound. We also found the movie Akeelah and the Bee to be very inspirational.  In fact, it’s after seeing that movie that we decided to do a Paris Spelling Bee in the first place!! Once we passed the movie around to our friends, it became infectious.

1.  FOR OLDER KIDS:  Some of the more useful links come from Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee’s website.  Even though this site is for kids who are competing at the national level in the US, there are some very helpful tips to keep in mind. Many of them come from Carolyn’s Corner, a popular site for serious spellers — Carolyn’s Corner: http://www.spellingbee.com/glance.shtml (check out spelling bee participation tips) / http://www.spellingbee.com/glance/organized.shtml / http://www.spellingbee.com/recommendations.asp

Also useful is the introduction to some of the most commonly misspelled words, which are always  handy to master (even for us adults!) and some word origins. These are found at Merriam-Webster’s famous Spell it! To get an idea of words that have appeared frequently at the Scripps bees, you can check out  http://www.spellingbee.com/cwl.shtml Scroll down to “words appearing with moderate frequency.” If you like to spell or want to become a better speller these links can provide you with the guidance and challenge you are looking for.

2. FOR YOUNGER KIDS: We found reviewing Fry’s 1000 Most Common Words (click on each 100-word section as indicated) to be a very good guide. There are also fun games on http://www.merriam-webster.com/game/crossword.htm

A NOTE TO SCHOOLS AND HOMESCHOOLERS: For next year, 2010, we may seek to participate in Scripps National Spelling Bee events where the Paris winner would have the opportunity to compete in the annual championships in Washington, D.C.  This is pending Scripps approval and GiF finding a media outlet that would sponsor the event and pay for the winner’s expenses to Washington, D.C.  At this point we are gathering a list of schools and homeschoolers who might be interested in enrolling for this event. Please email us at your earliest convenience, Subject: 2010 Scripps Spelling Bee, so that we can assess the interest level and share it with Scripps officials.

A WORD ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS:The annual Paris Spelling Bee is a community-wide enrichment activity open to all students, who meet the age requirements. It is organized by Gifted in France.

GiF is a volunteer-based 1901 association for English-speaking families. We organize educational meetings for parents, teachers and other professionals on the social, educational and emotional needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children (gifted children with learning issues). We also host activities for children.

We  look forward to hearing from you.


Paris Spelling Bee team



June 8, 2008   Paris

2008 Paris Spelling Bee winners


Eighteen children made history on June 8th at the 2008 Paris Spelling Bee, organized by GiF and held at the American Library in Paris.

Alissa Johnson, 8,  won the trophy in the 7-9 year-old Gazelles group,  and Amelie Matisse, 10, won the competition for the 10-13 year-old Cheetahs.

Second place winners were  7-year-old Jack Souami for the Gazelles and 11-year-old Shannon Connelly for the Cheetahs.

All 18 children showed amazing courage and talent in this unforgiving sport, which eliminates participants after a single error.  The children came from a cross-section of schools in Paris: public, bilingual and private. This will become an annual event, and eventually  we hope to encourage different schools
throughout Paris, as well as home schoolers, to hold qualifying bees and send their winners to a main GiF event at the end of each year. The spelling bee was open to any child who attended at least two practice sessions and met the age limits. The first requirement was aimed at encouraging children to find friendship and get a bit of training leading up to the final event. A majority of the participants came to all 5 preliminary meetings.  We took our lead from the official site of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and contacted them about finding a sponsor so that perhaps one day our Paris winner can qualify for their annual  competition in Washington, D.C.

We are extremely grateful to the American Library in  Paris for their support and for opening up the library on a Sunday for the finals of the bee and to our pronouncers, Director of ALP Charles Trueheart and  journalist Anne Swardson.
If you would like to help organize a spelling bee at your school please contact me so that we can begin to build a list of potential participating schools and organizations.

Helen Sahin Connelly,