Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge

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The Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge is an annual vocabulary competition in the United States for youth in sixth, seventh, or eighth grade. It is sponsored by Reader's Digest magazine.




Competition begins at a school level. Typically, teachers give students 25-question multiple-choice tests. Classroom winners then compete with other classroom winners from the same grade to determine the school-wide grade-level champion. The school champion then takes a multiple-choice test which determines the top 100 students in the state.


The top 100 students are invited to state competition. There they are given 25 multiple-choice questions to determine the top ten. The top ten then go through a few rounds of questions to determine the state champion. The state champion gets to advance to National competition.


Students from every state, Washington, D.C., and one student from a Department of Defense school get to compete at the national level. The students take a 25-question multiple-choice test, with the top ten scorers going on to compete in a nationally televised event. The moderator is a celebrity and in the past has usually been Al Roker.


  • All students at the state level are given treat bags.
  • The top 10 students at the state level are given Reader's Digest books.
  • All students at the national level are given treat bags.
  • All state winners are given free trips to the location of the national competition (usually Florida).
  • Scholarships are given at the national level:
    • First place: $25,000
    • Second place: $15,000
    • Third place: $10,000

Current status[edit]

In 2007, the RDNWPC website stated that the competition would not be held for the 2007-2008 year. The Reader's Digest website no longer mentions the RDNWPC.[1]

Past winners and top finishers[edit]

  Installment of competition  
  (academic/competition year)  
  First place (state represented, grade level)     Second place (state represented, grade level)     Third place (state represented, grade level)  
  1 (2002-03)[2]   William Brannon (Virginia, 8)   Gordon Bourjaily (Iowa, 8)   Richard Lyford (New York, 8)
  2 (2003-04)[2]   Spencer Gill (Michigan, 7)   Jeffrey Seigal (Maryland, 8)   Ajay Ravichandran (North Carolina, 8)
  3 (2004-05)[2]   Ming-Ming Tran (New Jersey, 6)   Billy Dorminy (Georgia, 8)   Levi Foster (Arkansas, 8)
  4 (2005-06)[3]   Joe Shepherd (Georgia, 8)[4]   William Johnson (Virginia, 8)   Christopher Molini (Nebraska, 8)
  5 (2006-07)[5]   Matthew Evans (New Mexico,
12-year-old home-schooler at seventh-grade level)
  Hannah Brown (South Carolina, 7)   Camille Guillot (Louisiana, 8)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Archived May 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c "Art of Problem Solving". Art of Problem Solving. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "Joe wins!". True Citizen. 2006-05-03. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  5. ^ "New Mexico Whiz Kid has the Last Word in America's Premier Vocabulary Competition". PR Newswire. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2017-05-24.