When Tammy Winkler attended Mary Lyon Elementary School in Chicago, she relished her reputation as champion speller.
"We'd have boys vs. girls spelling bees, and I was always winning and saving the girls' bacon,'' the 38-year-old recalled.
On Tuesday, she gets to relive her childhood pleasure when she conducts the Largo Library Adult Spelling Bee.
Winkler plans to conduct the program, in its first year, as a team spelling bee, with each team receiving 20 seconds to come up with the proper spelling of the word in question.
"When I was researching on the Internet how to hold adult spelling bees, I came across a place in Minnesota where a bar held one," she said. "After each round, participants got a beer. Maybe that's what I'll do next time for bigger participation.''
Winkler was a librarian for the Seminole Heights branch of the Hillsborough County Public Library System before joining the Largo Library in February. She attended Florida State University, where she received her master's degree in library science, and the University of Florida, where she received her bachelor of science degree in decision and information sciences.
1 How does someone become a good speller? I'm a librarian, so of course I'm going to sound librarian-ish. But my answer is that if you read a lot, you'll see the context of the words in books and newspapers. That'll make it become easier and faster to identify and spell words.
2 Does spell-check on computers hinder someone's ability to become the best speller they can be on their own? In some ways, spell-check makes spelling easier, but even if spell-check says a word is spelled right, you still have to make sure spell-check recognized the correct word. You need to think and know what's appropriate as to what you are trying to say.
3 Do you have a favorite spelling bee memory of your own? I remember I would get hung up on words that sounded like other words. I remember in particular a church spelling bee in Chicago. In Chicago, nobody says their "r" at the end of words. The spelling bee word was mirror, and I remember the guy read it as "mira." So that's what I spelled. I was eliminated and told the adults, "But you didn't say mirror, you said 'mira.' "
4 Can you tell us about your family? My husband is Bryon (pronounced Brian). Of course, he would be spelled totally irregular. I have two kids, Rebecca, who is 8, and Rachel, who is 3, and both of them are spelled regular.
5 What is your favorite word to spell? Orthographer (a person who spells correctly).