October 30th, 2020

Spelling bee staged at library

By Bobinec, Greg on November 4, 2019.

Herald photo by Greg Bobinec
Sabri Mahmoud tests his spelling skills for another year as he tries to reclaim his title from last year at the Lethbridge Public Librarys annual spelling bee Saturday afternoon. @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


The Lethbridge Public Library hosted its annual spelling bee for students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 to compete against each other using their spelling skills.

Earlier in the week, the library hosted its Spelling Mini-Bee for younger grades to start testing their spelling skills as kids in the community work on their literacy. The library offers the kids work packages and study groups to help them develop their skills.

“We do our spelling bee once a year, last week we had the Mini-Bee for the Grades 2 and 3 students and this week it’s the for the Grades 4, 5 and 6 students,” says Jenny Cofell, children’s librarian.

“We make a study guide for them and they can download it or get a hard copy from the library and then the older kids study on their own time and most of them have done it before because they keep coming back.”

Joining the spelling bee not only give the kids a chance to improve their spelling and literacy skills, but also gives them the opportunity to get comfortable with public speaking, competing against others through work, as well as learning to admit defeat when they don’t pass through to the next round.

“The kids register and then we have judges, pronouncers, and they will say the words and the kids will spell the words and if they get it right then they can keep in the spelling bee,” says Cofell.

“If they get an incorrect the bell will ring and they will have to leave, but then they get to come upstairs and there will be candy for them and we have prize books here and a bag for something to take home. The winner of the spelling bee actually gets a trophy and it’s a large one with a lot of shiny stuff on it.”

Last year’s winner of the Grades 4-6 spelling bee, Sabri Mahmoud, has been competing in the local spelling bees for the last four years and says it take a lot of practice to develop the skills, but competing in the spelling bee can be exciting.

“I get pretty excited for spelling bees, sometimes not that much but it’s nice when you win,” says Mahmoud.

“My mom goes through every word from Grade 1 to Grade 9 words sometimes, and then I spell them all, I highlight the ones that I don’t get right and then I repeat those words.”

The winner of each bee walked home with a large shiny trophy as well as a variety of prizes, and all of the kids who participated went home with candy, new books and other gifts from the library. There is no national Canadian spelling bee winner, so the winners will not advance any further, but will have the satisfaction of being the best speller in Lethbridge.

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