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No mistaking author Andy Griffiths’ support for Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee

Kamahl Cogdon, July 27, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Treehouse series author Andy Griffiths is throwing his support behind the Prime Minister's Spelling Bee, urging kids to not be put off by a fear of mistakes. Picture: David Caird media_cameraTreehouse series author Andy Griffiths is throwing his support behind the Prime Minister's Spelling Bee, urging kids to not be put off by a fear of mistakes. Picture: David Caird

spelling bee

Reading level: green

Make no mistake, Australia’s favourite children’s author Andy Griffiths is a pretty super speller.

“My spelling is certainly not perfect, as my editors* take great pleasure in reminding me, but it’s pretty good,” the writer of the top selling Treehouse series said.

“A lifetime of reading will do that, because the more words you’re exposed to the more normal they seem.”

Throwing his literary weight behind the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee, Griffiths rated himself an 8/10 for spelling but a 10/10 for figuring out when he’d slipped up.

He said learning from mistakes was a great way to improve.

“I don’t think any child should be discouraged … if they feel their spelling is not good,” he said.

Andy Griffiths media_cameraAndy Griffiths is preparing to release his 12th book in the Treehouse series, The 156-Storey Treehouse. Picture- Nicole Cleary

Griffiths, who is preparing to release The 156-Storey Treehouse, the 12th instalment* in his series with illustrator Terry Denton, said bad spelling was a barrier to being understood, whether you were writing a book, a story for school or a job application.

“The less barriers you put in your reader’s way, the more you are likely to have an impact on them,” he said.

“That’s true of the fiction writing from where I’m coming from … but also if you are writing a resumé* or trying to write for some official purpose. The employer or the person who is reading that resumé is going to be put off by mistakes.”

ANDY GRIFFITHS media_cameraAndy Griffiths, pictured with illustrator Terry Denton, hopes children develop the same love of words that he has. Picture: Aaron Francis

Griffiths said he hoped kids developed a love of words like his own.

“They’re just like objects you can have a lot of fun with, bending them, smashing them together in unusual ways,” he said.

“Spelling is part of that. The more confident you are with words, the more you can do with them and the more opportunities that creates for your life in so many ways.”

Prime Minister's Spelling Bee logo for digital media_cameraRegistrations are open for the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee until August 19, 2022.

Registrations are now open for the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee, a fun and free online competition for students in Years 3 to 8.

See for more information.


  • editors: the people who check and correct another person’s writing
  • instalment: one of the parts of a story that is published separately
  • resumé: a short written description of someone’s education, qualifications, previous jobs and interests that they sent to an employer when trying to get a job


PM spells out importance of the Bee

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Have you read these Aussie kids’ favourites?


  1. What book series is Andy Griffiths the author of?
  2. What is his new book called?
  3. What mark out of 10 does Andy Griffiths give himself for spelling?
  4. What does he think is a great way to improve spelling?
  5. What does Andy Griffiths say is a barrier to being understood?


1. Write a story
What would life be like if spelling suddenly disappeared? Write a story about it!

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Can you think of a fun activity that will help other kids understand why spelling is important? Write a plan, description or create a design of your activity. Be inspired by some of Andy Griffiths’ ideas about spelling in the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

Read this!
A headline on an article – or a title on your text – should capture the attention of the audience, telling them to read this now. So choosing the perfect words for a headline or title is very important.

Create three new headlines for this article. Remember, what you write and how you write it will set the pace for the whole text, so make sure it matches.

Read out your headlines to a partner and discuss what the article will be about based on the headline you created. Discuss the tone and mood you set in just your few, short words. Does it do the article justice? Will it capture the audience’s attention the way you hoped? Would you want to read more?

Consider how a headline or title is similar to using short, sharp sentences throughout your text. They can be just as important as complex ones. Go through the last text you wrote and highlight any short, sharp sentences that capture the audience.

Extra Reading in spelling bee