Alstonville Public School student James Ford will compete in Premier's Spelling Bee State Final in Sydney. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Alstonville Public School student James Ford will compete in Premier's Spelling Bee State Final in Sydney. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Spell this: James, 10, a spelling bee champion

IN HIS second attempt to be named spelling champion, Alstonville Public School student James Ford is off to the statewide spelling bee held in Sydney.

Last year he lost on the word unanimous, but James, 10, is unlikely to forget how to spell that one again.

"I forgot that it was 'u-n-a-n-i', I thought it was 'u-n-a-n-o'."

It's not all about winning, though. He said the spelling bee is a lot of fun, but "scary" because a lot of people attend.

Principal Kate Moore said only one other student from their school had made it to the Premier's Spelling Bee State Final since it began in 2004.

"Each year we have many students go to the regional level ... we've only had three go to state level," she said.

"There was one student about three or four years ago, followed by James who went last year and is going again this year.

"It's quite an honour for a child to get through to state level, but to go twice is very unusual."

More than 134,000 students from 939 public schools across NSW took part in the Premier's Spelling Bee competition in July.

Over 3,500 students progressed to the regional finals and only 86 have made it through to the state final.

Ms Moore said spelling bees were a great way to get kids interested in literacy.

"It showcases why spelling is an important skill particularly now when we just use spell check on our computers," she said.

"We have a spelling competition here at school that we encourage all students to enter.

"What we find is whilst they're preparing to enter they're madly spelling words and challenging each other.

"It creates energy around spelling in school," Ms Moore said.

The state finals will be held today at the ABC Centre in the suburb of Ultimo.



Some of the most frequently misspelt words in the English language include:

  • glamorous, it's not glamourous
  • accommodate is often missspelt accomodate
  • idiosyncrasy instead of idiosyncracy
  • irresistible spelt -ible, not -able
  • separate, not seperate
  • pavilion instead of pavillion
  • it's a common occurrence that occurrence is spelt like occurance
  • necessary is often misspelt with double c's
  • lollipop, lollipop ooo lolly-lollipop ... it's not a "y" unless it's just "lolly"
  • liaise and liaison as opposed to liase and liason
  • bizarre can be misspelt as bizzare
  • assassination has two double l's, so it's not assasination
  • committee is all doubles
  • but across isn't, so leave out the double c's
  • I found myself misspelling misspelt as mispelt.


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