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5-Year-Old Girl, Youngest to Make National Spelling Bee


Five-year-old Edith Fuller is the youngest person ever to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (KJRH-TV Tulsa video screengrab)

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Schoolchildren across the United States have been taking part in local and state spelling competitions. These competitions are called spelling bees. The young competitors spell words that even some adults may never have heard of.

More than 280 local winners will earn the right to compete in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. The event will take place from May 28 to June 3 near Washington, D.C., at the National Harbor in Maryland.

Most competitors in the National Spelling Bee are between the ages of 12 and 14.

But this year, one competitor will be less than half that age -- five-year-old Edith Fuller.

Last weekend, she won an area spelling bee in her home state of Oklahoma. The five-hour competition lasted 37 rounds. Edith correctly spelled words like sevruga (a kind of Russian caviar); jacamar (a kind of bird); and Nisei (a child of Japanese immigrants).

Her winning word? Jnana, a sanskrit word that is related to having a higher level of knowledge.

Remember, Edith is five.

She is the youngest person ever to qualify for the National Spelling Bee.

Five-year-old Edith Fuller takes part in the Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee in Tulsa, Oklahoma (KJRH-TV Tulsa YouTube video screengrab)
Five-year-old Edith Fuller takes part in the Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee in Tulsa, Oklahoma (KJRH-TV Tulsa YouTube video screengrab)

Not so long ago, when she was just four, Edith surprised her parents when she was able to spell the word “restaurant.” At that moment, her mom and dad realized their child might have a mental gift.

Her mother told the Tulsa-World newspaper this week, “We knew there was something special there.”

Edith is homeschooled. So, her parents are able to spend a little more time teaching her to spell.

Her mom says learning new words is fun for Edith. She told Tulsa-World that studying for the spelling bee helped Edith “learn about different countries and cultures and different kinds of food.”

About two percent of U.S children are homeschooled. Yet, homeschooled kids usually make up 8 to 10 percent of those who make it to the National Spelling Bee.

Her father spoke with Tulsa’s KJRH’s TV about the benefits of homeschooling Edith. “We have the freedom to answer her questions, to help her advance at her own pace,” he said.

Now, the Fullers must prepare young Edith for the national bee. But no matter how she does there, Edith is already being called a “spellebrity.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Ashley Thompson wrote this article. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

qualify - v. to give (someone) the right to do, have, or be a part of something

gift - n. a special ability

homeschool - v. to teach your children at home instead of sending them to a school​

benefit - n. a good or helpful result or effect

advance - v. to go forward : to make progress

pace - n. the speed at which something happens

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