OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - After surviving local and regional spelling bees and a 50-word computer test, more than 250 elementary- and middle-schoolers are preparing to take the stage at the National Spelling Bee.
Each of the 278 spellers will get the chance to spell two words during Wednesday's preliminary rounds. If history is any guide, they'll have to get both words right to have any hope of making the semifinals. Spellers get three points for each correct word spelled onstage and can earn up to 25 points from the computer test.
The 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee includes the youngest speller ever - 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va. Three of last year's finalists are back for another try, and two spellers made the bee for the fifth straight year.
Gokul Venkatachalam from Claymont Elementary in Ballwin will represent the St. Louis area.
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