TWELVE months ago nine-year-old Boyd Mbato from Indonesia could barely speak English, let alone write - now he is one of the best spellers on the Northern Rivers.
Last year he was a regional finalist in the NSW Premier's Spelling Bee competition, coming first at his school, Wyrallah Road Public School, scoring the highest of any student there since the competition began.
"Boyd couldn't speak English, couldn't understand, and after school he used to say, 'Why did we come here? I don't understand my teacher, I don't understand my friends' but every night I would spend one to two hours reading with him," his father, Con Mbato said yesterday.
Mr Mbato is a school teacher from Indonesia who is completing a PhD in education at Southern Cross University.
Boyd started at Wyrallah in Year 2, but was quickly moved up to Year 3 at the end of the first term and will start this year in the Year 4 gifted and talented class.
"We don't have storybooks like this in Indonesia, stories like The Lion King - students just learn English formally from the teacher - grammar, past tense, present tense ... very boring," Mr Mbato said.
"When we saw these books at Vinnies and Lifeline, we thought this is the way to learn English and it's very cheap.
"So Boyd would read every night and ask what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of that?
"Lismore has been very good for us and the principal and teachers at Wyrallah are fantastic, they're very friendly and supportive.
"English is everything in Indonesia - you can get work, go to university and study and travel."
SOME OF THE MOST MISSPELT WORDS IN ENGLISH
Amateur; accommodate; believe; calendar; daiquiri; drunkenness; embarrass; foreign; guarantee; hierarchy; humorous; ignorance; inoculate; intelligence; judgment; kernel; leisure; library; maintenance; minuscule; misspell; neighbour; occasionally; perseverance; privilege; questionnaire; restaurant; rhythm; schedule; twelfth; vacuum; weird.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Leave a comment below.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.