Sunday, June 1, 2003

Bees: Not just spelling

Expand academic horizons

Finneytown's Nathanael Bonnell should be proud of himself. Even though he was eliminated in the National Spelling Bee Thursday, he worked hard and performed well.

The spelling bee teaches competitors much more than spelling. To properly learn to spell, a student must master phonics, word origins and reading comprehension.

Contrary to popular belief, "spell check" has not eliminated the need to know how to spell. But computers have changed society in other ways.

We live in an information age that requires us to be knowledgeable in more areas than ever before. Spelling and reading will do little without a strong backing in civics and science.

Let's pay more attention to events like the National Geography Bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. It challenges kids to prove their knowledge in diverse fields like politics, world cultures and Earth science.

And there's MathCounts, a nation-wide competition in mathematics that had its finals in early May.

Spelling is still vital, but it no longer makes sense for the Spelling Bee to garner national attention while youthful geography and math experts labor in obscurity.

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