Carefully pronouncing each letter of the word 'bamboo' earned nine-year-old Erik Wihlborn thunderous applause from the audience. The six-letter word clinched the Year Four student from Chinese International School one of the titles at the annual spelling contest organised by the Kelly Yang Project, an after-school writing workshop for students up to 17 years old. Held at Central Library in Causeway Bay last Sunday and sponsored by Dymocks, the Kelly Yang Project 2009 Spellbulary contest saw 50 finalists from three age groups battle it out and impress the audience with their spelling prowess. The 50 finalists were whittled down from 300 participants. The finalists were given a list of 300 words for preparation before the contest got under way. Having beaten all his rivals in the previous rounds of the competition, Erik said his key to memorising mouthfuls of words was dividing them into chunks. 'I was really nervous at the beginning,' he said. 'However, if you divide a word into different parts, it's not that difficult after all.' Argus Li Chun-kei, 10, was the winner in the 10-12 age group. The Year Six student from Renaissance College said most of his vocabulary was learned by reading. 'I love reading all kinds of books, including fiction and history,' he said. 'If you come into contact with the words every day, you won't find it difficult to spell them.' Kelly Yang, director of the workshop, said the aim of the annual competition was to allow students to brush up on their spelling skills in a fun and interactive way.