Fun ways to build spelling skills

SINGAPORE - As part of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2014 (NSC), the public can pick up handy spelling tips through videos on RazorTV.

Also, primary and, now, secondary school students can learn spelling techniques and improve their vocabulary with special activities in The Straits Times' weekly school publications Little Red Dot and IN.

Spelling is "a core building block of good language" and "the most visible sign of literacy", said Straits Times deputy editor Zuraidah Ibrahim at the NSC launch at Westgate Mall in Jurong yesterday. "Besides making you seem smart, it is also critical in conveying exactly what you mean."

Over the next three months, more than 1,000 pupils from primary schools islandwide are expected to compete for the title of Singapore's top speller in the competition co-organised for the third time by RHB Banking Group and The Straits Times.

The event, in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and supported by ITE College Central, the National Library Board and tech company HP, will see one pupil win $5,000 and a challenge trophy for his school.

At the launch, pupils from Yangzheng Primary School and Yu Neng Primary School went head to head in a friendly spelling match, where they scrambled to form words such as "forlorn" and "manipulate" with large letter cards.

Said Mr Kellee Kam, group managing director of RHB Banking Group: "We want to build generations that are confident and highly motivated so that they can ultimately lead successful lives."

Also, the competition is a good platform for pupils to display values like resilience and sportsmanship, said Mrs Ruth Tai, assistant director of the MOE's Gifted Education Branch 2, in its Curriculum Planning and Development Division.

Registration is now open for the pen-and-paper preliminary round on March 1, where competitors must spell 50 words that are read to them. Top scorers will proceed to the zonal rounds.

Schools have until Feb 24 to register up to 10 participants and two reserves each.

Ahead of the preliminary round, The Straits Times and MOE will conduct a free workshop on Tuesday for all teachers from MOE schools who have pupils taking part in the competition.

Yangzheng Primary's Audrey Blanche Frejoles, 13, who participated in the championship last year, already has a game plan because "there are a lot of really good spellers".

She said: "I will read the dictionary and the list of words my teacher gave me. I will also revise words from last year."


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