Here's an interesting success story from npr news station in the USA - 'Child Spelling Prodigy Takes to World Stage' . Fourteen-year-old Yulkendy Valdez went to live in the United States less than four years ago. At the time, she had no English. Her interviewer Michel Martin describes her as having learnt English faster than most people can spell 'chrysanthemum,' 'antediluvian', or 'obsequious', yet she came first in the St Louis spelling bee and is going to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC later this month.
To what does she attribute her success? She reads a lot books and watches a lot of American television! Oh, and, she says, "It's all about learning the roots and the etymology, such as Greek and Latin, and the rest is about luck."