Teachers, administrators, and students, it's go time! Following the September "preseason," the second annual Vocabulary Bowl officially kicks off today and will run through April 30, 2016.

The Bowl was a big success last year, with competition firing up word learning across the country, and champion schools celebrating at year's end with trophy ceremonies, media coverage, local celebrity appearances and more! This year, the Bowl is shaping up to have an even bigger impact on literacy and word learning nationwide.

If you haven't already, now is a great time to join the nationwide competition by selecting and registering your school. Download our Classroom Starter Kit, then amp up play in your school with our toolkit to inspire your students to play the Vocabulary Bowl.

This year, thanks to the great enthusiasm we've seen for the Bowl in schools across the country, we've decided to break out overall yearlong champions into middle and high school divisions at the end of the Bowl in April. This move reflects not just the growing numbers of schools competing in the Bowl, but the spirited performance of so many middle schoolers last year, including our second-place champion, Virginia's Midlothian Middle School.

Keeping focused on the monthly leaderboard wins is a great way to energize your word learning, but you don't have to be topping the leaderboard to become a vocabulary success story. This year, we've built in even more ways to succeed in the Bowl. Students in a class can compete against one another on class leaderboards, schools within a state can see how they rank on state leaderboards, and teachers can choose from a selection of attainable goals developed by schools experiencing success with Vocabulary.com.

Not sure where to begin? Follow these first five steps.

5 Steps to Word Domination: Getting Started with the Vocabulary Bowl

1. Learn about the Bowl!

If you're not already familiar with how the Vocabulary Bowl works, your very first step should be to visit the Bowl page, which has all the information you need about how your school can join the nationwide competition. Here, teacher Erin Vanek explains how quick and easy it truly is to get set up.

2. Set goals for your school.

There are many different attainable goals you can set for the students at your school. Along with overall nationwide leaderboards, we also break down leaders state by state, and this year we'll recognize the top middle school. You can power your school to the top of the daily leaderboards, or make it a schoolwide goal for each student to master 10 words in a month.

3. Let competition drive word learning.

Ignite some friendly inter-classroom competition to boost your school's local or national standing by setting up a schoolwide competition between the members of your staff. Let your principal in on the action so the administration can laud the monthly and year-long winning teachers or classes with a special event or privilege (pizza party, anyone?).

4. Challenge a rival school.

Does your school have an ongoing sports rivalry with another school? If so, throw down the word gauntlet and challenge that school to a local Vocabulary Bowl competition. You set the rules of engagement: maybe you will pick a particular month and see which school can master the most words in that month, or maybe you will choose to mirror the national Vocabulary Bowl and compete from October through April, seeing which school masters the most words during that time. Whatever the case, the winning school should get more than bragging rights. Let us know if you set up a local rivalry, and we'll publicly acknowledge the winner on the Vocabulary.com site!

5. Get the Vocabulary.com Classroom Starter Kit.

One of the benefits of Vocabulary.com is how quickly and intuitively students can get up and running learning words. With our handy Classroom Starter Kit, teachers can first review best practices and some of the game's in and outs as they get started. Whether you're just starting out with Vocabulary.com or have been using it for months, the Starter Kit has great insights for teaching your students. It explains how to create an account, set up classes, make and share vocabulary lists, and get your students excited about learning new words. 

Want more ideas for how to drum up enthusiasm at your school for the Vocabulary Bowl? Check out our article, “Ideas to Inspire Your Students to Play the Vocabulary Bowl.”