Rules for spelling bees

The Scripps National Spelling Bee provides rules for all levels of our competition from the classroom to our national stage.

Rules for Local Spelling Bees

The 2022 Rules for Local Spelling Bees are now available. Download this PDF for rules as well as our eligibility requirements for 2022.

 

The Bee encourages spellers, parents, teachers and spelling bee officials to read these rules prior to any local spelling bee, from the classroom to regional level.

 

Spellers and spellers’ parents and teachers should check with their local spelling bee officials for the rules in effect in their area, as local spelling bee officials are encouraged but not required to use these rules.

 

The Bee has no authority over the conduct of local spelling bees and will not render judgments relating to their conduct or outcomes. Individuals bearing complaints about local spelling bees should register their concerns with local spelling bee officials. DECISIONS OF LOCAL SPELLING BEE OFFICIALS ARE FINAL.

your School spelling bee abcs

Need a quick how-to? Running a spelling bee with our materials is as easy as A-B-C. 

 

Give each student a number. This makes it simple to make sure they spell in the same order for each round of the competition.

 

Use the Classroom Pronouncer Guide or School Pronouncer Guide (included with your enrollment) to answer your students’ questions. They can ask for alternate pronunciations, parts of speech, definitions or for you to use the word in a sentence. At the school-level, they can also ask for information about the word’s origin. Each answer, found right there in your Pronouncer Guide, is a clue to help your student spell correctly. 

 

If a student spells correctly, they move on to the next round of competition. 

 

If a student spells incorrectly, they’re out. At the national finals, our Head Judge rings a bell when this happens, but it’s no problem if you don’t have a bell. You can simply spell the word correctly (a great learning opportunity!) and let them know they aren’t moving on to the next round.  

 

If every student in a round misspells, all the students in the round are invited back to the competition. It’s basically a do-over – everyone from that round gets another chance. 

 

If a student asks to start over when spelling, that’s fine! Be sure to remind them that they can’t change the letters they’ve already said, or the order they said them in. 

 

If a student doesn’t say “capital A” when spelling “America,” for instance, that’s fine too! You should judge the spelling based on the order of the letters only; they don’t need to indicate capitals, special characters or spaces.

 

Celebrate your champion! Declare your champion when only one student moves on to the next round, and then spells correctly in that one-student, one-word round. You can find printable certificates when you log in at spellingbee.com, and we love it when you share photos on social media with #spellingbee.