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How Do You Spell Precocious? 6-Year-Old Spelling Bee Contestant Would Know

The National Spelling Bee gets going Wednesday and the story that's got everyone buzzing is about the youngest competitor in the contest's history: 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison from Woodbridge, Va.

She is, as Washington's WJLA-TV says, a "precocious little girl" who "is anything but ordinary" and will be on stage with others twice her age.

Lori Anne is also a little girl who knows what she likes and doesn't like. Interviews, for example, can be a bore. So, she insisted that one news outlet come along with her on a search for "snails, slugs, tadpoles, water striders, baby snakes and more":

"Lori Anne was more than happy to let a reporter and photographer from The Associated Press tag along at a picnic with other gifted home-schooled children, but she craftily steered any questions about spelling back toward the joint pursuit of slimy things in the creek."

The word that got her into the nationals was "vaquero," which she correctly spelled to win the Prince William County, Va., bee. According to The Washington Post, "before she was 2, her mother recalls, Lori Anne Madison was reading her first book — Dr. Seuss's Hop on Pop. At age 3, she competed in her first spelling bee." She's home-schooled.

Lori Anne often studies, according to her bio at the National Bee's website, "while swinging upside down or jumping on her trampoline."

This sprite of a speller isn't nervous, she says, about being in the National Bee. "I don't stress out about it," she told the Post. "Plus, I'm 6. I can always go back next year." And for several years beyond that: The upper age limit is 15.

The National Bee, by the way, is being broadcast by ESPN on its cable channels. The finals are scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Lawsuit Will Decide Who Owns 'Star Trek' Language Klingon

Paramount Pictures holds the copyright to Klingon, spoken by some characters in "Star Trek." The Language Creation Society is arguing Klingon is a real language, and is therefore not copyrightable.
NPR

Germany's Beer Purity Law Is 500 Years Old. Is It Past Its Sell-By Date?

For centuries, German law has stipulated that beer can only be made from four ingredients. But as Germany embraces craft beer, some believe the law impedes good brewing.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - April 29, 2016

Kojo reviews Maryland's primary results and what they mean for the region and November's elections. The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Virginia's former governor. And a major funder of youth programs in the District is bankrupt.

NPR

Join Us At Noon Today For An #AirbnbWhileBlack Twitter Chat

Today, Code Switch's Gene Demby and Hidden Brain's Shankar Vedantam will be leading a Twitter chat to discuss what it's like to be a person of color participating in the sharing economy.

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