Introducing Paideia

Paideia was the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s official word list from 1995 to 2006, succeeding Words of the Champions (1950 to 1994). In 2007, Spell It! became the new word list.
In 2004, the Scripps National Spelling Bee published the Consolidated Word List (CWL), a massive word list containing 23,413 words. This list contains all of the words appearing in over one hundred National Spelling Bee word lists since 1950, encompassing Words of the Champions and national bee words. However, since the CWL stops at 2004, it does not contain the words in Paideia 2004, 2005, and 2006. These three lists are a great addition to any speller’s word collection because they are not included in the CWL, but appear in local bees often. I strongly encourage all of my students to study the Paideia lists, which is why I’m writing this introduction to Paideia.
Here is a comparison of the categories in Paideia. Unlike Spell It, which is organized by language of origin, Paideia is grouped by creative and fun themes. For instance, the Spelling Counts category contains words related to mathematics, It’s About Time features words related to time, and Poe Words come from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Many of the categories are reused each year, and some new ones (highlighted) are also introduced. In particular, the English, Latin, and Greek list from 2005 is different from the one in 2004. You will also notice that the number of words increases every year.

Paideia 2004
-over 3800 words
Paideia 2005
-over 3900 words
Paideia 2006
-over 4100 words
Chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry
Poe Words
Poe Words
Poe Words
World Religions
World Religions
World Religions
Folk Etymologies
Folk Etymologies
Folk Etymologies
Del Español
Del Español
Del Español
Crime & Punishment
Crime & Punishment
Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down
Colorific!
Colorific!
Adversity & Calamity
Fabulous Words
Fabulous Words
Fabulous Words
All Dressed Up
All Dressed Up
All Dressed Up
The Round Table
The Round Table
Down by the Sea
Prefixes Rules!
Prefixes Rules!
Prefixes Rules!
It’s About Time
It’s About Time
It’s About Time
Famous Words
The Body Within
The Body Within
Mood Swings
Little Words
Little Words
Watership Down
Watership Down
Watership Down
Food For Thought
Food For Thought
Food For Thought
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
The Ties That Bind
The Ties That Bind
Field of Champions
English, Latin, & Greek
English, Latin, & Greek
* All new words
English, Latin, & Greek
War & Peace
War & Peace
War & Peace
Spelling Counts
Spelling Counts
Spelling Counts
Shake A Leg
Politics & Government
Politics & Government
Sports & Games
Sports & Games
Sports & Games
Cognates
Cognates
Cognates
Hitting the Books
Hitting the Books
Hitting the Books
That’s Entertainment
That’s Entertainment
That’s Entertainment

Today, we start with the word category called Chemistry. Here are the words in this category:


Before we start studying these words, I will address a question that parents often ask. They noticed that some of the words in Paideia also appear in the CWL and Spell It!, so there is an overlap between the word lists. I think the best way to handle this is to simply study all of the lists anyway, since studying a word more than once will only increase your chances of memorizing that word. If you’re short on time before an important spelling bee, you can make a comprehensive Paideia word list for 2004-2006 by studying the repeated categories (such as All Dressed Up, Watership Down, and Chemistry – see the chart) only once.

In the Chemistry category, there are 71 Beginning words, 93 Intermediate words, and 13 Advanced words. When I participated in the spelling bee, there was a wonderful spelling study website called Carolyn’s Corner by Carolyn Andrews, a word panelist at the national bee. She wrote amazing articles about each of the Paideia categories. I remember that she introduced us to the Periodic Table of the Elephants when she was writing about Chemistry!

Here are some study tips for spellers eager to conquer words in this list:


·        Within each category, the words are listed from beginning to advanced. If the advanced words are too difficult, try going through all the beginning and intermediate words in each category first.
·        Study and memorize the meanings and pronunciations of the words because many of these are very useful in the “real world.” Don’t skip the beginning level words, even if you think you know them, because often there are alternate pronunciations and meanings.
·        Beginning words: this level should be easy to master, but be on the lookout for homonyms. You should memorize the definitions.
·        Intermediate words: look out for suffixes like -ious/-eous, -ible/-able, etc. You can also work on learning common root words.
·        Advanced words: there are only thirteen in Chemistry, but they can easily be “killer words.” Some of them have tricky pronunciations. 

I want to end this lesson with some encouraging news: all the words you study in this word list will probably be in your high school chemistry class. Pay close attention and study hard!  Stay tuned for more lessons and information about Paideia.