Watching TV--Great Training for a Spelling Bee


Some kids prepare for a spelling bee by studying the dictionary. Others have their parents quiz them from lists of long and tricky words. Thirteen-year-old Jason Liao, whose native language is Cantonese, has a unique strategy: He watches television — especially “The Simpsons,� with the captions on.

Jason's technique of TV as teacher helped him learn English as a toddler (Sesame Street), and now he hopes it will help him to make it through the semi-finals to compete in the 78th National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, DC in May. Here's the Portland Tribune story.


I find that surprising since I often watch tv with the closed captioning on and the sound off when my grad student husband is studying or whatever and the captions are rife with spelling errors and typos. I would think it would be a bad way to learn to spell. Plus there aren't really a lot of words on most tv shows and they tend to be short and easy to spell. Or maybe those are just the shows I watch!!

I'd almost always rather watch the closed-captions than listen to anyone on the Today Show (especially now that I can see the screen without glasses!) But...yeah, the misspellings are ridiculous, they're almost entertaining in themselves (for us word people).

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