ELIZABETH Lee and Sofia Stojko’s favoured bedtime reading isn’t a book, comic or magazine.
Instead, they spend each night reviewing a list of 1000 words in preparation for the Premier’s Spelling Bee, to be held on November 2.
New Lambton South year six student Elizabeth, 12, and Mayfield West year three student Sofia, 8, won their school, zone and regional finals to secure a place in next month’s state final.
“I’m excited and a little bit nervous, it’s all based on luck,” said Elizabeth, who spelt contemporaneous, apothecary and then petulant correctly to secure her place in the Sydney final.
“I didn’t expect to get this far – I was elated,” said Sofia, whose correct spelling of dubious and disturbance were her ticket.
Students can be tested on 1000 words – in a list spanning about 18 pages, or 156 pages if accompanied by their definition, pronunciation and an example of their use – and also need to be prepared to spell words they haven’t seen before.
“This list has words that sound the same but are spelt differently, like discreet and discrete,” Elizabeth said.
She’s been tackling the hardest words first, then moving to the easier entries.
“It’s also helped me with my vocabulary – I'm learning and not just for the sake of winning.”
Sofia said she wanted to “do the best I can”.
“I like finding more creative words to put in my stories.”
The 50 junior finalists include Belair’s Callan Peterson, Branxton’s Grace Wellington, Morpeth’s Elias Reeve and Waratah’s Eden Sykes-Stewart.
The 50 senior finalists include Rutherford’s Shreyash Karajagar, Stockton’s Jude Carey, Telarah’s Rieley Cameron and Valentine’s Joshua Carter.