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Speller-isms: How spellers visualize at the Bee

Posted at 3:10 PM, May 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-27 16:00:07-04

Spellers at the Scripps National Spelling Bee don't get whiteboards, chalkboards or even a Sharpie pen. If they want to visualize the words that they're trying to spell — they have to use what's around them.

Anamika Veeramani, who won the Bee in 2010, said it's important to spellers to compete in the way that's most comfortable for them.

"Many people visualize that way. It can slow you down so you don’t rush," she said.

Here are the most common "speller-isms" seen at the Bee this year:

The Air Writer:

One of the most common techniques. Don't have a chalkboard? Make your own!

The Counter:

When you know what letters to use, but don't want to go overboard.

The Snapper:

One speller is snapping her way to success. Maybe this will be a trend setter.

The Pad Writer:

Whether on the forearm or palm, this is another very common speller-ism. Can I borrow your pen?

The Placard Petter:

They gave you a placard — use it or lose it!


Amanda Moore contributed to this report. Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter at @GavinStern.