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Scott Remer, a New York-based tutor and author of a spelling bee textbook, coaches three of the 16 finalists. He said winning the Bee takes more than rote memorization. His students study word roots and how to spell sounds in Latin, Greek, German, Japanese and several other languages.
“A good speller knows a lot of words,” Remer said. “A great speller is able to spell pretty much any word that you throw at them, because they’re able to use this process to break the word down and come up with a very well-educated guess.”