Does Rudolph pull a 'sleigh' or 'slay'?

File photo of pupils at the preliminary written round of The Big Spell in 2015.
File photo of pupils at the preliminary written round of The Big Spell in 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

Some competitors in last year's The Big Spell scratched their heads over this: Does Rudolph pull a "sleigh" or "slay"?

The word "sleigh" was among some of the most commonly misspelt words in last year's RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship (NSC).

This year, teachers will - for the first time - get a sneak peek at some of the words that tripped up participants at the NSC Teachers' Briefing on Friday.

"Through this competition, we want to help pupils across Singapore improve their spelling and language," said Ms Serene Luo, editor of The Straits Times Schools.

"Providing insight into the possible reasons for errors made will better equip teachers to teach their pupils."

The annual competition aims to find Singapore's top pupil speller while also igniting a love for the English language. It is co-organised by The Straits Times and RHB Banking Group, in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Besides learning more about the game play and rules of the NSC during the briefing, teachers can pick up tips on the teaching of spelling.

Officers from the MOE's curriculum planning and development division will also helm a session on teaching spelling in the classroom.

Meanwhile, Ms Debra Ann Francisco, a teaching specialist with ST Schools, will conduct a session on spelling games that teachers can use during lessons.

The written preliminary round of the NSC will be held at ITE College Central on March 11.

Top spellers from that round will move on to the zonal round on April 1. And the best performers will enter the grand final on April 22.

For the zonal and final round, pupils will have to spell words aloud onstage.

A cash prize and challenge trophy will be given to the winner's school.

Primary 4 to 6 pupils from MOE primary schools, and pupils in the primary section of a full school are eligible to participate. They have to be registered by their schools.

To register for Friday's briefing or to make enquiries, write to or call 8235-5565.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Does Rudolph pull a 'sleigh' or 'slay'?'. Print Edition | Subscribe