2020 New Hampshire State Spelling Bee

  • 3 min to read

The New Hampshire Union Leader is pleased to present the preliminary competition for the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University.

Nearly 200 of the state's top spellers will compete in the 2020 Union Leader State Spelling Bee.

2019 New Hampshire Spelling Bee Sponsors

The public is encouraged to attend this free event beginning at 1 p.m. The student to emerge as the top speller will represent the Granite State at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.

About the Spelling Bee program: A preliminary to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the Spelling Bee program is open to all schools (public, private and parochial) and home-school groups in New Hampshire. For more information on joining the 2020 local program, contact Community Relations Manager Stephanie Baxter at sbaxter@unionleader.com 603-206-7833.

For more information on the 2020 program and to register, visit www.SpellingBee.com.


  • All school-level winners advance directly to the New Hampshire State Spelling Bee
  • Modeled after and endorsed by Scripps National Spelling Bee to include written and oral rounds
  • Day-long celebration of academics and spelling with more than 600 people expected to attend
  • Family-friendly, free event open to the general public
  • First-class, centralized facility with plenty of seating
  • Commemorative program books featuring all spellers


Location:Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University

             144 Main St, Plymouth, NH

  • 9:00 - 10:00am - Registration (We are unable to accommodate late arrivals)
  • 10:00 - 11:00am - Written Round
  • 11:00am-12:15pm - Lunch
  • Noon - Doors open for the public
  • 12:15pm - Announcement of Finalists
  • 1:00 - 3:00pm - Spelling Bee on stage featuring the finalists. 

Who can participate in the New Hampshire Spelling Bee?

The New Hampshire Spelling Bee is the preliminary to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held each spring in Washington, D.C. The competition is open to students in grades 1 through 8. Students must not have reached their 16th birthday. All schools – public, private or charter – are eligible to participate. Home-schooled students are also eligible to compete.

How does a school select a representative?

The school's Spelling Bee Coordinator can choose the method for selecting a representative. Schools are not required to hold a Spelling Bee to determine their representative. However, we encourage schools to organize a school Spelling Bee to allow students to experience a spelling competition prior to the New Hampshire Spelling Bee. Please note that the rules and format of the school-level Spelling Bee may differ from those followed at the New Hampshire Spelling Bee.

Where/when is my regional spelling bee?

All school-level winners advance directly to the State Spelling Bee.

How many students will be selected as finalists for the oral round?

The top 30 students (+ ties) will be selected after the written round as finalists for the State Spelling Bee. That is, the students with the top 30 scores and all students receiving the same written score as the lowest score selected for the finals. If the five students have the same score as the lowest accepted score, 35 students will be in the finals.

What if my speller cannot attend this state spelling bee?

If your school's representative cannot attend the State Spelling Bee, the school can send an alternate representative. Please contact your school Spelling Bee coordinator as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements for an alternate speller. All changes must be communicated to the Union Leader Spelling Bee coordinators prior to the State Spelling Bee.

What should my speller wear to the state spelling bee?

There is no formal dress code for the event, but we ask that the school representative wear appropriate attire. Keep in mind that there may be media covering the events.

How should my speller study?

Scripps National Spelling Bee suggests the following study steps: Ensure that you know the study words for grade levels 1-8; learn the words and do the activities in Spell It! (a copy is available from your school Spelling Bee coordinator or at www.myspellit.com); complete spelling exercises at www.wordcentral.com. Additionally, it is helpful to learn spelling rules and patterns associated with the languages of origin, etc.

How many guests can each speller bring?

The more, the merrier! We have arranged for a first-class, large facility in hopes that family, friends, teachers and the general public will come to cheer on your speller. The finalists will be announced at noon, with oral finals scheduled from 1-3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

What if I have to leave the competition early?

We encourage everyone to stay to help us support the speller who will represent New Hampshire at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. However, in the event that you have to leave early, we ask that you do so during one of the breaks during the day or between rounds so as not to disrupt the competition.

For additional questions:

  • Stephanie Baxter
  • Community Relations and Events Manager
  • New Hampshire Union Leader
  • 603-206-7833
  • sbaxter@unionleader.com