A record 288 children, including seven from the region, will compete in the first round of the National Spelling Bee this morning in Washington.

The spellers will participate in rounds today and tomorrow, culminating in the crowning of a new national champ on ABC's national telecast, scheduled for 8 p.m.

Results can be checked online at

, beginning at 8 a.m. today. The round this afternoon can be viewed live online from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at

» READ MORE: www.espn360.com

. ESPN will telecast tomorrow's round from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The winner or winners will get more than $35,000 and other prizes.

The contestants from the region are: Christian Michael Thompson, 13, of Absecon; Joy Endicott, 13, of Mercerville; Timothy F. Nowak, 14, of Mount Laurel; Anahita Kalra Iyer, 10, of Doylestown; Elyse Cox, 14, of Lower Gwynedd; Hannah C. Schill, 13, of Philadelphia; and Meghan Kimberly Reynolds, 14, of Landenberg. For more information, go to

» READ MORE: www.spellingbee.com

.

- Peter Mucha