Learning through failure

We’ve been involved in all seven of the Literacy Cooperative’s spelling bee as advisors, producer of video reels, producer of two innovative virtual spelling bees (necessitated by the pandemic), and in 2022, as a contestant.

Words are pronounced by the great broadcast talent Mike Snyder, definition given, used in a sentence, then 15 seconds to spell. Hold up the word, judge gives thumbs up or down. Miss two words and you’re out.

The Act 3 team, full of confidence at the beginning of the evening, participated in exactly. . .two words. Two strikes and we’re the first team eliminated.

Upset? A bit. Embarrassed? More than a bit. Educated? Much more than a bit, in three ways. One, how to (correctly) spell the words “filibuster” and ”impresario.” Two, how to be gracious and smiling losers (NOTE: not so easy). Three, how to empathize how difficult it is for those with low-literacy skills.

Losing a contest? Not a big deal. Struggling to find and keep employment, read a menu, read a government document, select a greeting cared, help out your children with homework? Unimaginable, struggling in silence and shame.

So, here’s to all those who advance the literacy of children and adults. When you can read confidently and well, the world – and spelling bees – are so much better.

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