Lena Zhu says the key to being the best speller in the state is reading. A lot of reading.
Lena, 9, correctly spelt 12 words in a row on Wednesday to be crowned the 2017 NSW Premier's Spelling Bee junior champion.
The Oatley Public School pupil was thrown words like spinnaker, aquamarine, mediocre, camphor and irrevocable.
She said she had seen many of the words before including her final word irrevocable.
“I was thinking it was pretty easy because I have read that word in like 10 books,” she said. “I love to read. I probably read 10 books a week, including chapter books.”
Lena, who also speaks Mandarin, said her dad had been testing her with an app on his phone in the lead up to the competition in Ultimo.
She said one of her prizes was the game Scrabble which had been getting a good run at home.
Oatley Public School spelling bee co-ordinator Darleen Hogan said the school was very proud of young Lena.
“She has always been so hard working and she really deserves this win because no matter what subject she does she always gives 110 per cent.”
She said Lena was the first pupil at the school to win the NSW Premier's Spelling Bee competition and the news shot around the school like lightening on Wednesday.
Lena had to go through three qualifying competitions before earning a spot at the state final. About 40 young spellers joined her at the state final in the junior division for students in Years 3 and 4.
The senior division for Year 5 and 6 students was won by Lucinda Adams (Woollahra Public School) who spelt 14 words correctly including her winning word charlatan.
The NSW Premier's Spelling Bee competition is open to public schools across the state.
Lena’s favourite book is My Sister’s Keeper. She would like to become a doctor one day.