Home-schooled 5-Year-Old Girl Becomes Youngest to Qualify for National Spelling Bee

Edith Fuller, 5, outlasted much older competitors in a regional spelling bee, earning a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. (KJRH, Tulsa)

Edith Fuller, 5, has booked a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, after she out-spelled dozens of older competitors to win a regional bee in Tulsa, Okla. The home-schooled student will be the youngest competitor ever in the national spelling bee, which will hold its 90th contest in May.

The folks at Scripps are already calling Fuller the latest “spellebrity.”

Fuller beat kids more than twice her age at the Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee this past weekend, outlasting dozens of other students and correctly spelling 37 words in around five hours of competition. Her final word, “jnana,” is a Sanskrit word that refers to an elevated state of knowledge.

Other words Fuller had to spell to earn her way to the national bee in Washington, D.C., include sevruga (a type of caviar); virgule (an accent mark); Nisei (a child of Japanese immigrants who is born in the U.S.); jacamar (a long-billed bird); and alim (a Muslim scholar).

It all started last summer, when Edith surprised her parents by spelling “restaurant” correctly, her mother Annie, told the Tulsa World newspaper.

Here’s how Edith Fuller described her daily training regimen, according to Tulsa’s KJRH TV, organizer of the regional bee in Oklahoma:

“My mommy asked me words, and every time I misspelled one, I would look at it.”

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SOURCE: NPR, Bill Chappell