Tara Singh: Louisville's super 8-year-old speller



Posted on May 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 7:55 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky -- The mind of Tara Singh is a marvelous thing. It’s a place where words and letters are a treat.

Her father Anand Singh says, “at the end of the day she loves chocolate and her spelling which is another dessert for her.”

In Tara’s mind the letters fit easily together to form the words.

For instance, when WHAS11'S Melissa Swan visited the Singh family Tara and her father were practicing words like clairaudient, chalcopyrite and edelweiss.  Her spelling clues come from the Latin and Greek she studies at Louisville Classical Academy.

Some of her favorite words are German.

When Tara was asked if she would learn to speak German someday, the soft spoken speller said, “I am.”  Anand clarified by saying, “She started teaching herself last week.”

Her mind works at such lightning-fast speed that she even surprises her parents.  She was reading 200-page books when she was just four.

Tara’s mother, Swapna Reddy, says at first she didn’t believe 4-year-old Tara had actually been reading the book.

She said, “I would just get on her case.  I would say you did not read the whole book.  It’s impossible to read this fast and I would ask questions from the middle of the book, plot and character names and she would tell me everything.”

Anand says, “It is fun.  Even we get to be impressed and amazed but we’re her parents and we have to keep an even keel.”

Tara’s ease with words doesn’t mean that some aren’t tough to spell.  She hesitated slightly on boulevardier. But, who wouldn’t?  Now, because of the recent changes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee rules, early rounds require definitions and that’s fine with the Singh family.

Anand said, “Now we have a reason to say hey guess what you really have to know the definition because it’s required by Scripps."

Seeing Tara Singh as she studies doesn’t give the whole picture.  She loves to play lego’s with her little sister Anya.  She loves to play violin and she loves reading even when it’s mostly cuddle time with her mom, but there’s no denying Tara loves to spell.  Even a recent trip to Disney World wasn’t enough to take her mind off the Bee.

Swapna says, “She would ask her daddy, ‘ok, quiz me, ask me some words.’  He had to stop and say, ‘no, I’m not going to talk about spelling this week.’  We have to do that sometimes.

Tara and her parents say she doesn’t have a photographic memory and when she spells she doesn’t have obvious routines that many great spellers display.  They says she has an “internal routine.”  However she does it,  the student can sometimes out-spell the teacher.

We asked Tara, “how does that make you feel?”

For me she had a one word answer, “happy”  She then whispers to her dad, “you still can’t spell braggadocio.”

Anand tells us, “she still gets me about braggadocio and several other words we won’t mention.

So, can Louisville’s 8-year-old super speller out-spell her older peers at this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.?  Well, when Tara Singh spells the whole world just might be listening.