6/03/2009

"How to Win the Spelling Bee"

From the WSJ:

That is the secret to winning the National Bee. The natural advantage of David, Kavya and all the other kids who have taken the trophy is a fierce and unswerving dedication to their study. The Spelling Bee is a workaholic's game. No weekend enthusiasts need apply.

In addition to discipline, winning the Bee requires a broad education. No mind can memorize the spelling of 450,000 words. Top spellers must be able to make an educated guess about obscure words using their wide-ranging knowledge of etymology, science, geography, history and literature.

So a top speller needs a rise-at-dawn work ethic and a multidisciplinary education. Still, you ask, why are there so many Indian winners given the fact that people of Indian descent only make up around 1% of the U.S. population? Surely there are American kids of all backgrounds who are hard workers with a great education. . . . .


The bottom line is that hard work pays off.

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1 Comments:

Blogger James D. Miller said...

"natural advantage of David, Kavya and all the other kids who have taken the trophy is a fierce and unswerving dedication to their study."

I suspect that their real natural advantage is hyperlexia.

A non-trivial subset of autistics have hyperlexia. Hyperlexic children often learn to read before they are three and have fantastic natural spelling abilities. One hyperlexic child I know could spell the names of many animals before he was two.

I suspect that almost all the winners of high stakes spelling bees have hyperlexia.

6/03/2009 10:47 PM  

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