At least 30 top competitors were shortlisted during the spelling bee held at the Kareeville Primary School on Saturday, 10 March.The competition, funded as part of De Aar Solar Power’s literacy programme, tests reading instead of memory. This means that learners prepare for these types of events by reading more and inproving their understanding of how words are constructed and how letter sounds work together. According to De Aar Solar Power, participants are also now provided with Nal’ibali reading materials to help them prepare. Nal’ibali is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign. It is built on the simple logic that literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects, and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories in languages they understand are well equipped and motivated. First prize in the spelling bee held at the Kareeville Primary School went to Emmanuel Stuurman of Kareeville, who achieved victory by spelling the winning word, “astounding”, correctly. Second and third place were awarded to Siyambulela Ngcongco of the Emthanjeni Primary School and Brandonlee Sekoei of the Hanover Primary School, respectively.The event was supported and attended by parents, principals, teachers, friends and family, as well as representatives of the Department of Education (intermediate phase). Each participant received a medal and a cash prize, with the first-prize winner also taking home a trophy. Contestants in a spelling bee are required to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty. These competitions are recognised as offering a range of benefits, from higher confidence to better vocabulary. They not only provide a valuable educational experience for participating learners, but are also lauded for allowing them to engage in healthy competition. Other benefits include: team building, improved grammar, the building of a competitive spirit, increased knowledge of the origin of words, the development of cognitive skills and the ability to handle pressure, and, most importantly, these events help to boost a child’s confidence level by learning to speak in public.