17th Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee


Photo: John Lacko

Date, Location

Support Ready to Read

It’s time to break out the dictionary and start practicing for the 17th Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee! Join us and support 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.

Spectator Tickets: $35 each Now on Sale!

All proceeds benefit Ready to Read.

Pay with your debit or credit card through PayPal.

When you complete your payment, select “Print Receipt” link on the left hand side. Please print your receipt and bring it to the event. This will serve as your ticket to the spelling bee. You will also receive a confirmation email from PayPal.

Please print your receipt and present it at the event.



Thank you for supporting Ready to Read!

Become a 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 are now searching for sponsors, teams of spellers and cheerleaders! Call 269-553-7885 for more information.

The Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee Features

  • Teams of eight adults: two courageous spellers and six outrageous cheerleaders
  • Spellers compete together in two 60-second rounds of fast paced spelling
  • Cheerleaders perform one 2-3 minute cheer in Round One
  • Prizes are awarded for best spelling, best costumes, most enthusiastic, most creative cheers and audience favorite
  • Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar
  • Event recorded by Public Media Network TV and broadcast on subsequent dates

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...