New book club boosts students' word power

Posted at 8:48 AM, Sep 23, 2016

Book clubs are a popular way to socialize with friends and establish a reading routine.  Another great benefit of diving into a good book is expanding your vocabulary and learning new words.  The meaning of these new words is learned to as well as the spelling. There are some words you may have never encountered if you hadn’t found them in a good book!

Starting a “Spelling Bee book club” is a fun idea that combines the enjoyment of a book club, with the discovery of new words.

Previous champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, presented by Kindle, say burying themselves in their favorite books, rather than just a dictionary, helped prepare them to rise to the top at the annual contest.

“The array of books that I had read throughout my childhood and during my Bee experience helped me in so many ways,” said 2015 co-champion Vanya Shivashankar. “Just reading, in general, improved my vocabulary and increased my love for knowledge and learning.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee and Kindle not only based its new study list on literature-based words, but is encouraging students to start their own Spelling Bee book clubs to prepare for next year’s event.

Spelling Bee Book Club basics

Launching a new book club doesn’t have to be complicated. Teachers can use them in classrooms with assigned texts, but students can also start one on their own.

Find a few friends who are willing to read together. Usually, everyone in the group reads the same book.  After they read the assigned book, the group meets on a regular basis to discuss what they read.  This can include thoughts about the characters, their opinion of the book, any themes or lessons learned and more.

For your Spelling Bee book club, here are some new angles for the group to share during meetings:

1.     Each group member finds new words from the club’s book that he or she didn’t know before and shares them and their meaning with the group.

2.     How many words did everyone have in common? Who had the highest number of unique words?

3.     Keep a notebook of all of the words everyone shares and study their spellings and meanings.

4.     Do these new words have something in common? Parts of speech? Their language of origin?

5.     For the next book club meeting, have a fun contest on who can spell and/or define the most new words shared from the last meeting.



To get your club started, here is a partial list of recommended books by grade from the Scripps National Spelling Bee and Kindle. 

1st grade

·        The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangarooby Judy Blume

·        Dory Fantasmagoryby Abby Hanlon

2nd grade

·        The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

·       Ivy and Bean (Book 1) by Annie Barrows

3rd grade

·        Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger

·        The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

4th grade

·        Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

·        The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster           

5th grade

·        Howl’s Moving Castleby Diana Wynne Jones

·        Matildaby Roald Dahl

6th grade

·       A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

·        Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

7th grade

·        Cinderby Marissa Meyer

·        The Hobbitby J.R.R. Tolkien

8th grade

·        Ugliesby Scott Westerfeld

·        The Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

 All of the books above can be found on yourKindle e-reader. Consider bringing your Kindle with you to your Spelling Bee Book Club meeting to enhance the discussion! 

Kindle helps students develop word fluency and comprehension. Word Wise, for instance, places short and simple definitions and synonyms directly above difficult words in text so kids can better understand the material and keep reading with fewer interruptions.

Students can improve and strengthen their reading and spelling skills by utilizing Word Wise and a Kindle e-reader.  Creating and participating in a Spelling Bee book club can make them more prepared for school curriculum and perhaps competing in next year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee!