A six-year-old girl will become the youngest ever contestant in a US National Spelling Bee when she competes this week.

Lori Anne Madison entered her first competition at the tender age of three and doesn't look set to stop anytime soon. The home-schooled pupil has already decided she wants to be astrobiologist - a combination of her two favourite subjects - astronomy and biology.

Madison, who often studies while swinging upside down or jumping on her trampoline, has captivated national media after winning her county's spelling bee in Virginia last May but says she didn't expect to attract so much attention.

"The [media] were just driving me bananas," the six-year-old complained.

"I sort of didn't like it. I asked for no interviews but the media seems to be disobeying me," she told the Associated Press.

The child genius, who will be battling 277 contestants for the spelling bee prize, was fluently reading by the time she was two years old and says her favourite word is "sprachgefuhl" (yes, we had to Google it too).

But Madison's mum Sorina says her daughter doesn't sit down and study for hours. "I mean, she's six. She's still a 6-year-old and we want to allow her to be a six-year-old."


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Portraits of poet Keats and Fanny Brawne are displayed at his house on July 22, 2009 in London, England. Keats' House, the former home of renowned English poet John Keats, is to reopen to the public after recent refurbishment. The Grade I-listed house in Hampstead has been transformed thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £420,000. Keats lived in the house from 1818 to 1820 and it was here that he wrote 'Ode to a Nightingale' and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door. It was from this house that he travelled to Rome, where he died of tuberculosis aged just 25. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)