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Last year, the President told an Albuquerque radio station that he wished for the ability to speak every one of the world’s 7000 languages, but he may have to visit the city this summer to meet the real Spanish Spelling Superhero!

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Kids all across the nation are burning the midnight oil, learning how to spell complex words in the hope of being crowned the 2013 Santillana National Spanish Spelling Bee champion. Contestants are competing in local and state competitions for the honor of reaching the finals at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on July 20.

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Daniel Ward, editor of Language Magazine, one of the event’s sponsors, welcomed the news, “Spanish is a crucial part of the nation’s heritage. Now, that we’re recognizing the influence of Latinos nationally, we should also recognize the importance of their language.”

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The National Spanish Spelling Bee, organized by the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education (NMABE) and the Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education (AMME), offers the opportunity for all Spanish-speaking kids across the nation, be they mother-tongue speakers or children who are learning the language, to showcase their command of Spanish spelling.

Last year’s finals featured 20 finalists from California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin. “Every journey begins with a first step.  The first event in 2011 was our first step and we had 11 participants and 4 states represented.  In 2012 we grew to 20 participants and had representation from 7 states.  We are still crawling along but we continue to grow.” stated David Briseño, event organizer. “We will use this year’s success and will continue to grow until this becomes an event of great national importance.”

There’s still time to enter!

Teachers and school administrators still have time to organize regional competitions to select their finalists. Visit www.nationalspanishspellingbee.com or email nmabe@suddenlink.net for details.

Although Spanish is considered a “morphophonemic” language in which it is relatively easy to spell, the Spanish Bee challenges native and non-native speakers alike to excel in important academic arenas within the language arts. Beyond the act of actually spelling, Spanish diacritical marks are also a challenge for students. It is much more than just memorizing spellings.

As contestants prepare for the National Bee, they accrue valuable skills for academic learning. Word origins are analyzed, and since thousands of Spanish words come from Greek, Latin and Arabic, the contestants increase their lexical repertoire which helps in many areas of study, such as math, science, literature, etc. Finally, Spelling Bees not only validate and give equity to the Spanish language, but also contribute greatly to the development of a positive self-image for the contestants.

For more information contact Daniel Ward at editor@languagemagazine.com or visit www.nationalspanishspellingbee.com

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