1. Words used in the contest will be selected from a list prepared by the Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy.
  2. The pronouncer will say the word, give the word in a sentence, and say the word again. Spellers may ask for one additional pronunciation of the word, but no more.
  3. Spellers must begin spelling within 40 seconds and complete the spelling of the word within 1 1/2 minutes. There will be a warning at 30 seconds. Team members will be given pencil and paper to write down the word. One team member will spell the word aloud. Team members will spell aloud in rotation.
  4. A speller who has started to spell a word for the first time may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning, but cannot change the letters or the sequence from those first spelled out loud. If letters or their sequence are changed in the retracing, the team will be eliminated.
  5. A FREE PASS may be used once by each team to avoid a difficult word. The next word on the list will then be given. The FREE PASS may not be used when only two teams remain.
  6. After the practice round, if the team member doing the spelling aloud misspells the word, the team is eliminated. The next word, not the same one, will be given to the next team.
  7. If no teams go out for three or four rounds, the pronouncer will give words of greater difficulty, ending with the "killer word list."
  8. When there are only two teams left, the elimination procedure changes. If one of the two teams misses a word, the other team will be given the same word. If the second team correctly spells that word plus the next word, that team is declared the winner.
  9. If one of the two last teams misses a word, and the other team spells that word but misses the next word, the misspelled word is given to the first team. If the first team correctly spells the word and then correctly spells the next word, that team is declared the winner.
  10. If both teams misspell the same word, the first team is given a new word to spell. The contest continues under rules 7 and 8. 11. These rules will be reviewed before the contest begins. Final decisions on all questions will be made by the judges.


The contact person on the team is responsible for getting the information about the contest out to his/her team members, as they will not receive separate mailings unless requested. Feel free to make copies of any information sheets you need more of.

A practice round where misspellings will not count will start the spelling.

Team members will spell in rotation, but all members may write the words down on their pads for the speller to consult.

It will be to your advantage, though not required, for the speller to say the word aloud after the pronouncer to make sure it has been heard correctly, Once spelling has begun, repeat pronunciations are not allowed.

The FREE PASS may only be used before spelling of a particular word has begun.

No words will be used that have capitals, hyphens, apostrophes, or quotation marks. Words with alternate spellings will also be avoided. No homonyms (words like "pare," "pair," and "pear") will be used.

Try some practice rounds with the words we have given you or others you have found in order to see how the contest works.

The words on the list used for the contest and their pronunciations and spellings were taken from Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. Spelling of a word that appears somewhere on the internet but not in this dictionary will not be accepted.

Good luck!