Natural learner Haruka Masuda's secret is reading, reading and reading.

The 12-year-old champion of The 3rd Japan Times Spelling Bee in March is set for the global stage, where she will compete with 277 other contestants from the United States and other countries in the annual 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, from May 29 to 31.

"I am kind of nervous, whether my preparation is enough," the first-year student at Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen Makuhari Junior and Senior High School said recently in a coffee shop near JR Kaihin-Makuhari Station in Chiba.