The official Vocabulary Bowl 2017 - 2018 season kicks off on October 1st, so we've put together a preview of what will undoubtedly be an even bigger, even more exciting season of competitive word learning. We've got new leaderboards, new state banners, even a cool new map — all to entice students and schools everywhere to play, compete and learn.

Watch the preview of the '17 - '18 Vocabulary Bowl season

Records will be challenged.

Last year, 970,000 students from over 38,800 schools participated and collectively mastered over 26.8 million words, blowing away previous numbers. Margate Middle School set a monthly record with 85,912 words mastered in March. Etiwanda High School set a Bowl-season record with 365,451 words mastered from October 1 - April 30. Will these impressive records hold? We wouldn't count it — not the way schools tend to get fired up about climbing the leaderboards once they get a taste of Vocabulary Bowl glory.

Juggernauts return.

That's why we're predicting that Bowl juggernauts Chavez and Lanier will be at the top of the pack again this season with defending champs Etiwanda and Margate, along with several schools that consistently appeared in the national top ten ranks last year: Nimitz High School, Rialto High School, and Walnut Hills High School, to name a few. But as past Bowl action has taught us, newcomers have a way of storming the leaderboards and putting their schools on the Vocabulary Bowl map, seemingly out of the blue.

'16 - '17 Vocabulary Bowl Champs Etiwanda High School

We're throwing down the gauntlet.

The potential for any school to rise from word-learning obscurity and have a viable shot at the top is why we're throwing down the gauntlet this season to rookie schools everywhere to give the known contenders a run for their money. Take it from August champ Millard South High School, who overtook Etiwanda to claim their first champions banner in only their second month in the national top ten. So, which schools have the hunger and the stamina to tussle with the top dogs? We've got our eye on these potential threats: schools in the Comal and Manor School Districts in Texas, Tucker and Pope High Schools in Georgia, Rancho Cucamonga High in California, and more.

County leaderboards fuel local rivalries.

What fuels that competitive Bowl spirit — beyond the thirst for word knowledge and the fact that playing is just plain fun? We think it has a lot to do with rivalries, and that's why this year we've brought you a new set of leaderboards  — county leaderboards. This new level of competition really brings it home in terms of setting your sites on a school to beat. County-wide rankings will make things very interesting in places like Broward County, Florida, Chesterfield County, Virginia and Prince George's County, Maryland, where many schools have already established themselves as Bowl powerhouses and have been keeping an eye on each other on the state leaderboards.

New county leaderboards bring competition closer to home

New state banners: Bowl glory within your reach.

Speaking of state leaderboards, there's a whole new reason to watch them light up this season. Starting with the 2017 - 2018 Vocabulary Bowl, we will crown a state champion in each of the 50 U.S. States for the season when the final bowl buzzer sounds on April 30th. Imagine hoisting a glorious green champions banner to the rafters of the gym, and claiming the bragging rights that go with it! With a smaller field of competitors, this new award makes it possible for any school across the map to attain vocabulary glory.

Dream big, start small.

"We started small," is a mantra we've heard a lot from teachers who've led their schools to vocabulary improvement and Bowl success, and this year we really want to get the word out that every school can find a level of competition that matches their ambitions and motivates their students. Sometimes all it takes is a teacher casually throwing out a, "Hey, think our 4th period English class can beat 5th period Lit today?" to get the Bowl rolling. Once students see their class leaderboards flashing as they master words and make progress, they want to see what else they can do. How about striving for top class in the school for a week? And from there, can they propel their school to win the county for the month? Game on!

If you're enrolled, you're in.

Here at, we want every student to be able to play, compete and learn. That's why we've designed the Vocabulary Bowl as an academic competition that's "all-in" —  meaning that any student can play, compete and learn while they propel their school up the leaderboards. We're not a tournament that eliminates competitors over time, winnowing the field to just a few "top" schools. We believe that since the whole point is learning, the more the merrier. The more you play, the more you learn, and in that sense — everybody wins.

On your word, get set… Go!

We award Vocabulary Bowl champions banners every month all year 'round, but October 1st is special because it's the kick-off of the season-long competition and the epic quest for the coveted title of North American Vocabulary Bowl Champion. Be sure that you're ready to participate for your school. Just sign up, select your school, and start playing your way to a great vocabulary and word domination.