Nerdy things aren't fun.
Another example of Papa being a failure because he's the patriarch. It always seems to be the father that pushes the children into doing something they're not interested in doing. It's never the mother that does that in stories. The mother is more insidious, usually.
I'm kind of surprised that in the school spelling bee, someone who won their class's spelling bee is unable to spell the word "vicarious," and spells it very badly. "Viccariess." That doesn't even look like it spells vicarious.
It has a good message. And Papa Bear, to his credit, realizes that he's done something wrong before it's pointed out to him by Sister Bear, so he's able to take her criticism well. However, because he feels bad about what he did, he disrespects her by not participating in the standing ovation given by everyone else when she wins.
Brother and Sister are, for the sake of this story, good students in math, science, and history, despite at least one other story which says she's not very good at math.
Sister wins the class spelling bee. That means she's going to the school spelling bee, so Papa decides that he'll help her study so she can win and go on to the next level. He gets all these vocabulary lists from his school days, which apparently he kept for some bizarre sentimental reason. Nowadays, we would look this stuff up on the Internet, but that's not allowed in the Bear family household. He drills her on these lists and she can't play with her friends. She goes to the spelling bee. She wins with the word "vicarious." Papa realizes that he's being vicarious. She tells him she doesn't want to go to the next level, and he says, "I'm happy for you, for standing up for yourself." The end.
The best part: "The words were like rockets going off and exploding into bad spelling that knocked out the contestants one by one."