The Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee


Date, Location

The Event

Kalamazoo Public Library hosts the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee to benefit Ready to Read, our early childhood literacy program.

100% of the proceeds from this wild and wacky event are used to purchase books for at-risk children in Kalamazoo County.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee!

The Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee Features

  • Teams of eight adults: two courageous spellers and six outrageous cheerleaders
  • Two spellers compete together in two 60-second rounds of fast paced spelling
  • Six cheerleaders perform one 2-3 minute cheer in Round One
  • Prizes for best spelling, best costumes, most enthusiastic, creative cheers
  • People’s choice award
  • Event recorded by Public Media Network TV and broadcast on subsequent dates

Support Ready to Read

Ready to Read is a Kalamazoo Public Library initiative created to ensure that every child in Kalamazoo County has access to books, like the books your child receives during wellness checks!

Your child’s pediatrician supports Ready to Read by participating in the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, a benefit that funds the Ready to Read program. 

Our sincere thanks to these organizations!

  • Bright Futures Pediatrics
  • Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics Oshtemo
  • Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics Portage 
  • Borgess ProMed Pediatrics - Woodbridge
  • Borgess ProMed Pediatrics - Richland
  • Trestlewood Pediatrics
  • WMed Pediatric Clinic
  • Family Health Center

You Can Help, Too!

Your donations, no matter how large or small, will help buy books for Kalamazoo area children. All proceeds benefit Ready to Read.

Checks payable to ‘Ready to Read’

Kalamazoo Public Library
315 S Rose St
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

You may also donate securely with your debit or credit card through PayPal.



Thank you for supporting Ready to Read!

Become an Official Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee Sponsor! »

Join the Fun! Sponsor the Spelling Bee with a donation of any amount.

Sponsor the Bee at the Bronze $500 level or higher and you may opt to send a team to the Bee! Can't send a team? Choose to have the library recruit a non-profit team to compete on your behalf. Learn more...

Register Your Team!

We need sponsors, teams of spellers and cheerleaders for the next Bee! Call 269-553-7885 for more information.

Official Rules

  1. This is a team competition. A team is composed of two spellers. The role of speller will alternate between the two team members within each round.
  2. This is a timed competition. There will be two 1-minute rounds of spelling.
  3. All correctly spelled words in the first round will be worth 1 point each. All correctly spelled words in the second round will be worth 2 points each.
  4. The team with the highest total score from the two rounds will be the winner.
  5. Spellers must spell each word from start to finish in one attempt. Spellers may not “pass” on any words.
  6. Spellers may request that a word be pronounced again.
  7. Any question about the spelling of a word must be referred to the judges at the end of each team’s 1-minute round.
  8. The judges’ decisions on all questions shall be final.
  9. In the event of a tie the scores for the second round of spelling will determine the placement of teams. 

Previous Winners & Spellers »

Each year, the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee raises more than $20,000 to buy books for Kalamazoo County children! See the winning teams and sponsors from past Bees; view and download photos and video from past events. Learn more...