Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge

The Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge is the first nationwide vocabulary competition for middle schoolers. Over 3 million students compete each year, and the top 3 are awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships by Reader's Digest.


All middle-school students in grades 6-8 residing in the US or dependencies thereof, who have not previously won a scholarship from Word Power, can participate.

There are 5 levels of competition at Word Power, each of which is 25 multiple-choice questions. At the Classroom level, the highest score on a 25-question test from each classroom goes to the School competition. The School level narrows the field to the top student in each grade from the school, each of whom get to take the State Qualifier test. The top 100 scores on the 40-question State Qualifier are invited to the State Competition, where the top student on 2 25-question tests is awarded an all-expense-paid trip to the National Competition.

At Nationals, a 25-question preliminary round reduces the 55 state winners to the top 10 finalists, who compete in the televised National Finals. The National Finals, hosted by Al Roker, determine the top 3 verbophages in the nation, who get $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively in scholarship money.

Past Winners


  • William Brannon, VA, 8th grade
  • Gordon Bourjaily, IA, 8th grade
  • Richard Lyford, NY, 8th grade


  • Spencer Gill, MI, 7th grade
  • Jeffrey Seigal, MD, 8th grade
  • Ajay Ravichandran, NC, 8th grade, 2-time finalist


  • Ming-Ming Tran, NJ, 6th grade, sister of AoPSer
  • Billy Dorminy, GA, 8th grade, 2-time finalist, AoPSer
  • Levi Foster, AR, 8th grade, 3-time finalist


  • Joe Shepherd, GA, 8th grade, AoPSer
  • William Johnson, VA, 8th grade
  • Christopher Molini, OK, 8th grade, 2-time state champion

There will be no 2008 Word Power Challenge.

See Also

Official Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge site