6-year-old qualifies for National Spelling Bee

A six-year-old Virginia girl who learned to read before the age of 2 will compete in the National Spelling Bee. Homeschooled by her mother, a college professor, Lori Anne Madison plans to become an astrobiologist, reports AP. She also excels in math and swimming.

“Hold on to that basalt,” Lori Anne Madison said in a bossy 6-year-old’s voice, shoving a chunk at her mother, “and do not drop it.”

“Go away,” her mother said playfully.

Sorina Madison held on the rock nonetheless, and soon was carrying more basalt and a nice hunk of quartz.

By then Lori Anne, wearing a green “Little Miss Sunshine” shirt, had joined up with more friends and had taken on a different quest, searching for snails, slugs, tadpoles, water striders, baby snakes at the Scotts Run Nature Preserve in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

“Oh my gosh, what is it? A water worm. A water worm! It’s alive,” said Lori Anne. “I need it in my collection. It’s wonderful.”

Her mother tried to enroll Lori Anne in a private school for the gifted, but the headmaster said she was too smart.

The veteran spellers, some as old as 15, have honed sophisticated study methods, spending hours daily over many months in their attempts to master as much of the unabridged dictionary as possible.

Lori Anne? She likes to study while jumping on her trampoline, with her mother calling out words.

“She doesn’t sit at a table for hours to study anything. I mean, she’s 6,” Sorina said with laugh. “She’s still a 6-year-old and we want to allow her to be a 6-year-old.”

Lori Anne’s favorite word is “sprachgefuhl,” which means an intuitive sense of what’s linguistically appropriate.

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