Erin Howard, a seventh-grader at Mountain Gap School, will travel to Washington, D.C., in May to compete for the third consecutive year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

A three-time Alabama state champion, Erin has charmed judges and spectators alike with her ebullient – yes, we checked, that’s spelled correctly – personality and her “air-typing,” tapping on an invisible keyboard to help her in the spelling process.

As part of the recent National Library Week, Erin visited the Bailey Cove branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library and spoke to children gathered for one of the library’s regular “storytime” sessions. She was joined by Dr. Jennie Robinson, Huntsville City Council Member from District 3, who presented a book to the library in Erin’s honor.

She even passed a simple spelling test from one of the children’s favorite words: C-A-T-E-R-P-I-L-L-A-R.

Here’s what Erin told parents and children gathered for the event.

“I’m super happy to be here today at this library. I went to story time just like this a long time ago. I don’t know how many times I came. I always loved to hear them read stories.

I want to say thanks to this library and anybody who ever read to their child or who brought their child here.

Reading is wonderful and libraries are wonderful and you guys should keep coming. Reading is an amazing thing and it’s going to help your children out,

I’m happy you guys like words. I love words a whole lot. I’ve studied them a lot because I participate in spelling bees.

Does anyone know what spelling bee is? It’s a competition where each participant goes up to a microphone and a judge or announcer asks them how to spell a certain word. If they miss it, they’re out of the competition. If they spell it correctly, they stay in.

But that’s not the important part. What is important is that reading is the reason behind my whole spelling success.

I came to storytime like this and I enjoyed it so much. I got to read awesome books. My parents started having me read when I was very young and I realized I really, really loved to read. It became one of my favorite things to do.

I learned so much from reading. It helped me do well in school and I’m sure it will help you guys, too. It helped me understand words and recognize them better. Reading is the reason behind my whole spelling bee success.”

Erin Howard and Jennie Robinson

District 3 Council Member Jennie Robinson presents the book “A Wrinkle in Time” to the Bailey Cove Public Library in honor of Erin Howard.