Friday, February 22, 2013

Bee Season Discount - Curricula 20+% Off

Hey spellers,

It's that time of year.  In celebration of Bee Season, we're putting our curricula on a limited-time discount.  Between now and the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, you can get our products at the following discounted prices:

Alpha Collection - discounted 30%!

Beta Collection - discounted 20%!

Gamma Collection - discounted 20%!

This isn't just for spellers going to the NSB - the sale is open to everyone, so if you're looking to prepare for next year, you can use this opportunity to get a great deal on preparatory materials. 

Tell your friends!

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Spelling Bee Preparation Tips, Week 8: Advanced Prefix and Suffix Concepts

So far, we've discussed the general application of prefixes and suffixes.  Of course, while it may sound easy in theory, it can get a lot more complicated on the stage of the National Spelling Bee. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to prefixes.  First is that in rare instances, a prefix may be modified into an "irregular" form.  Take, for example, the prefix we discussed last week: rhynch.  The vast majority of words derived from this prefix are spelled with the rhynch at the beginning: rhynchocoele, rhyncholite, rhynchophore.  But in the case of rynchops and rynchosporous, the prefix's spelling is modified.  When you're going through a word list, be careful to look out for these words that violate the normal spelling of the prefix.  You should devote a significant amount of time to memorizing these "exceptions" so when you receive a word, you can know with confidence whether it follows the rules or not.  (If you can't remember, the law of probability dictates that it's generally best to go with the common form.)

The second advanced concept you should pay attention to is the use of connecting vowels.  For prefixes ending in consonants or suffixes beginning with consonants, it is common to see the use of a connective vowel.  For example, in rhynchocoele, there's an 'o' between the rhynch- and the -coele.  Many prefixes or suffixes have a propensity to be associated with specific connective vowels.  Take the suffix -logy.  While there are only four words ending in -ilogy and two ending in -elogy, there are over nine hundred ending in -ology!  Thus, it's a pretty safe bet to use that o.

Keep a look out for these two when you're studying!


Monday, September 17, 2012

National Spelling Bee Preparation, Week 7: Prefixes

Last week, we discussed suffixes, which are endings like -ous that can be added to the end of words.  Knowing common suffixes can help you spell many difficult words.

Prefixes are exactly like suffixes, except instead of endings, they're beginnings.  A basic example that many of you probably know instinctively is the word preview.  What's a preview?  It's a sneak peek, like a movie trailer - something you get to see "before" the event in question actually occurs.  Preview can be broken down into two parts: the word view, meaning "to see," and the prefix pre- meaning "earlier than" or "prior to."

Knowing prefixes can make spelling seemingly difficult words a lot easier.  Take the word rhynchobdellida - that's a mouthful!  But a few prefixes can help us out.

First, let's take a look at the definition of rhynchobdellida.  "An order of leeches with an exsertile proboscis, without jaws, and with colorless blood." 

Key in on the words jaw and proboscis in the definition.  Those clue you in to the fact that this word uses the prefix rhynch-, meaning "snout."  This brings up our first important point - prefixes won't always have their literal meaning in the definition of the world.  You have to think a little and draw relationships.

The second "clue" in the definition is the word leech.  The silent 'b' might trip a lot of spellers up, but not competitors who had studied the prefix bdell- meaning "leech."  This brings up the second important point - prefixes can sometimes occur in the middle of the word, too!

If you know your prefixes, the seemingly difficult rhynchbdellida breaks down to two known prefixes and a short ending.  It may still be difficult, but it's certainly easier than taking a proverbial shot in the dark.

Next week, we'll examine advanced concepts relating to prefixes and suffixes.