TODAY   |  May 31, 2012

6-year-old speller tripped up by ‘ingluvies’

Lori Anne Madison, a 6-year-old second grader from northern Virginia, was the youngest competitor ever to participate in the National Spelling Bee until she was eliminated at the end of Wednesday’s second round. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> hundreds of other words. on wednesday the 6-year-old from northern virginia became the youngest person to compete in the national spelling bee . nbc's kristin welker has her story. kristin , good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you, ann . the scripps national spelling bee is the largest in the nation. and with 278 participants, the competition is fierce. but it at just 6 years of age, little lori anne madison is proving she's pretty tough, too.

>> hi, lori anne .

>> hi.

>> reporter: lori anne madison can barely reach the microphone, but most days she towers over her competition.

>> may i have the definition, please?

>> reporter: the 6-year-old is the youngest ever to compete in the scripps national spelling bee . during the first preliminary round on wednesday, she aced it.

>> dirigible, d-i-r-i-g-i-b-l-e.

>> reporter: lori anne earned a place on the national stage in march after beating out 21 competitors at a regional competition in her northern virginia community.

>> v.a. q- u -e-r-o, vaqeuero.

>> reporter: she started at 3 1/2 and told her secret.

>> i read a lot.

>> reporter: the second grader is homeschooled and says she's an avid reader who loves the water as much as she loves words.

>> i do swimming. i'm a good competitive swimmer. i know karate.

>> reporter: even her fellow competitors say she's in a league all her own.

>> it's surprising that there's a 6-year-old.

>> you see kids who are half my age when i was here first. it's amazing.

>> reporter: at the end of wednesday's preliminary round, the 6-year-old faced her toughest challenge yet.

>> engluvies, e-n-g-l- u -v-i-e-s.

>> that is incorrect.

>> ingluvies is i-n-g-l- u -v-i-e-s.

>> reporter: and while lori anne didn't make it to the next round, her future couldn't be brighter. she already knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

>> i like astronomy and biology. so the perfect thing for me would be astrobiology.

>> reporter: pretty incredible, ann . we had to consult webster's on that last word, though, ingluvies. webster's defines it as the crop of a bird or insect. the crop is basically the esophagus. so the semifinals and finals will continue today without little lori anne , but she still has about six more years to compete. so this probably won't be the last time we hear from her. ann ?

>> you have said that correctly. kristin welker, thank you so much. i just love how she said how it takes to take an ent molg class. she's 6.

>> i have a 6-year-old who's not getting his allowance this week. he's got to get on the ball here.

>> ingluvies is in trouble. that's not the word.

>> spell check.

>> i know.

>> i came in sixth place