National Bee Not Just About Spelling Anymore
281 contestants will need to answer vocab questions, too
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 9, 2013 12:16 PM CDT
Updated Apr 9, 2013 12:40 PM CDT
Stuti Mishra, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla., types her word in the air while spelling in the finals of the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, May 31, 2012. Mishra came in second place.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – This year, it won't be enough for National Spelling Bee contestants to know what words look like; they'll have to define them, too. Local contestants—who have all already been selected—will have to spell live and on a computer as well as answer vocabulary questions in order to reach the semifinals, USA Today reports. Vocabulary will determine half an individual's score. The final still won't require kids to know definitions.

The move "represents a deepening of the Bee's commitment to its purpose: to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives," says the contest's director. The event comes May 28-30 in Maryland, with 281 contestants.

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