What’s the Cost to Win The National Spelling Bee?

Would you hire a $200-an-hour writing coach so your child could win the National Spelling Bee? Add it up – it might come close to the prize money by the time you are done. We’re not judging; we’re just observing and wondering just what it takes, and how much it costs, to win?

At Wow, we are writing coaches who teach college applicants and grad school prospects how to write personal statements that stand out — and we can help businesses and nonprofits improve the way they communicate using the written word.

We believe the secret to success in writing is communicating clearly so others can understand it. The secret to National Spelling Bee success is knowing how to spell words that are so hard and obscure that observing the competition can make the smartest person in the room feel inadequate.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Who uses those words anyway?” Do you wonder how many hours a night the participants spend reading dictionaries from beginning to end and studying the origins of words and their pronunciations.  And how would a kid prep for this competition?  Read this article from the Washington Post – you’ll find out many fork over $200 an hour for special tutors.  This. Is. Fascinating!

For now, we are going to stay away from spelling bees and stick to teaching strategic communications to businesses and nonprofits and the art of writing in one’s genuine, unique voice — using the words people use in everyday conversation. Good luck to the kids who really can spell anything. We do enjoy watching it (and keeping track of the words we can spell!)

Check out the Washington Post story:

The National Spelling Bee’s new normal: $200-an-hour teen spelling coaches

In the world of competitive spellers, Sylvie Lamontagne is known as a juggernaut. She placed fourth in last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, and ninth in 2015. Last summer, she traveled to California and won the Spelling Bee of China’s North America Spelling Champion Challenge, a contest for kids in the United States and China.

Now that the 14-year-old from Denver is no longer eligible to compete in this week’s National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland — which is televised on ESPN and often turns kids like Sylvie into momentary celebrities — she’s focusing on a new vocation: spelling bee coach.

Sylvie’s rate? $200 an hour.

Hiring coaches isn’t new. But bee aficionados say a recent surge in competition, and a tightening of rules meant to limit co-champions, has spawned a demand for younger coaches such as Sylvie: high-schoolers or college kids, months or just a few years into their bee retirement, who can pass along fresh intelligence on words to memorize and how to decode bizarre words based on their language of origin.

“As the spelling bee gets more and more difficult, there are people working harder and harder every year,” Sylvie said. “There are definitely people in the last couple years who are using coaches to get to the finals.”

Read the rest of the story here: