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New App Helps Young Wordsmiths Prepare For National Spelling Bee

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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Gone are the days of preparing for the National Spelling Bee with flash cards. You guessed it–there’s an app for that now.

As Gigi Barnett explains, it’s not just for kids.

There are scores of strategies to win at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. this week. Some young wordsmiths need to hear it twice, while others want the origin.

No matter the tactic, what gets a kid to and through the finals is practice. One Baltimore County company–LCG Technologies–has an app to help the nation’s top spellers prepare.

It’s called Spelling Bees.

“Probably, when you were in school, those spelling bees were administered with paper and pen. And a lot of tracking and trying to remember who was in and out,” said Nigel Knowles, LCG Technologies.

Those days are fading away, according to LCG President Nigel Knowles. He says Microsoft and Scripps contacted his team two months ago to create the app, just in time for the National Spelling Bee.

Goodbye, flash cards.

“They have to see it on a screen,” Walsh said. “But parents, as they were playing the game, would maybe spell one or two words and kind of say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool,’ and they would move on. So you can definitely see the generational gap.”

The app has a game that tests a kid’s vocabulary and another section for parents and teachers to administer their own spelling bee. Students will know right away if they got the questions right or wrong–a sure confidence-builder.

“Now, all of a sudden you’ve got the confidence to have spelled 500 words correctly in the span of a week. You might walk a little taller the next time you walk to the next spelling bee,” said Walsh.

LCG says the app is for anyone interested in becoming a better speller. Meanwhile, the company is planning on a second version of Spelling Bees. In it, teachers can track the words student got wrong and create a whole spelling bee based on all of the incorrect words.

The company says there were more than 500 downloads of the app during the two week pre-launch period. The app is free at the Microsoft Windows Store.

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