About The Big Spell
This was the little competition that could.
In 2012, the Ministry of Education tied up with The Straits Times, together with sponsor RHB Banking Group, to reinvent its annual spelling competition and take it to greater heights.
Now called the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship, the competition in its first year more than doubled its participation rate -- reaching 1,200 pupils.
In 2013, that number increased to some 1,400 pupils.
The organisers of The Big Spell, as the event is affectionately called, also tried to reach out to engage more pupils, teachers and parents by introducing a teachers' briefing to equip them with spelling tips they could use in the classroom, as well as fun games online as well as on-air on HOT FM91.3, part of the Singapore Press Holdings' stable of radio stations. Deejays also visited schools to promote good spelling tips among pupils. The Straits Times' publication for primary school pupils, Little Red Dot, carries a series of tips to help pupils improve their spelling, in conjunction with every year's run-up to The Big Spell.
The ultimate goal -- to develop a greater appreciation of the English language and the importance of spelling in literacy development among primary school pupils -- remains true.
For its successful relaunch and engagement with pupils, The Big Spell won two global prizes. They were:
- Commendation for Brand, Young Reader Prize, World Association of Newspapers and Publishers (2012)
- Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association Best Newspaper Event (2012)
In 2014, the event will return with sponsor RHB for the third time, launching on Jan 25.