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Texans Challenged to Brush Up on Spelling Skills

February 16, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - It's time for Texas word lovers to register for the AARP National Spelling Bee, scheduled for June 18 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It's the 16th year AARP Wyoming has hosted the event, and the group's Tim Summers says the idea grew out of a brainstorming session to come up with fun ways to inspire older folks to keep on learning.

"Spelling bees offer wonderful chances for folks to exercise their minds, to pit themselves against formidable colleagues and have a little bit of fun."

The bee is open to anyone age 50 and over, including previous winners; there is a $40 registration fee. Several Texans have been top finishers since 2007.

Summers says some spellers focus on the social aspects of the bee, including meeting like-minded people from around the country. Others take studying very seriously – by reading the entire dictionary. It's all good for mental health, according to Summers.

"They recognize that this is a real key way of keeping their minds sharp and healthy."

Words will come from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. Spelling word lists, study resources and registration information are all available online at www.aarp.org/spellingbee.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - TX