Hundreds of people will gather in Tyler next week for the fun of watching adults look nervous as they try to spell difficult words.

The Literacy Council of Tyler will present its 28th annual Corporate Spelling Bee at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Conference Center, 1607 Troup Highway. The spelling bee includes lunch before teams take the stage.

This year’s theme is board games.

Competitors from businesses, colleges and other organizations are encouraged to dress in costumes inspired by board games ranging from Boggle to Battleship and Candy Land to chess.

“We really are excited about this year’s theme, and I think it’s going to give our competitors an extra challenge to outdo their creativity from the previous years,” Nancy Crawford, executive director of the Literacy Council of Tyler, said in announcing the theme. “This event is truly made by the teams and sponsors who come year after year, dressed to impress and ready to compete.”

The spelling bee is known for its enthusiastic audience members who chant and cheer for their favorite teams. This year, two spirit awards and two awards for best costume will be given.

Crawford said about a dozen teams will vie for the honor of being the spelling champ. Teams are provided a list of words to study. The words get progressively harder with each round of competition.

Each team has two members who take turns spelling the words. The winner is crowned when a member of one of the final two teams misses a word and the other team spells it correctly.

Crawford’s advice for those preparing to take part in the spelling bee is to relax and have fun.

“They get very competitive up there,” she said. “We want people to have a great time and be as silly as possible.”

The event raises about $60,000 and serves as the Literary Council of Tyler’s biggest fundraiser, Crawford said.

In partnership with Tyler Junior College and other entities, the agency offers GED preparation, English as Second Language instruction, academic advising, basic literacy instruction and workplace literacy instruction for local businesses.

Tickets cost $40. For tickets and information, go to or call (903) 533-0330.