Three-year-old to join Mensa

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The Independent Online

It has always been said that the Sun newspaper can be grasped by those with a reading age of nine. Yesterday, a three-year-old girl took the editor's chair.

But not just any three-year-old. This was Chantelle Coleman, shortly to be Mensa's youngest member, who with an IQ of 152 ranks higher than Albert Einstein.

At the Sun's headquarters in Wapping, east London, Chantelle's progress at Britain's largest-selling daily was being kept secret. But presumably the precocious girl from Barry, South Glamorgan, was able to find time to read a few of the six books she reads daily between editing duties, as well as wowing the assembled reporters with a few of the choice Latin phrases she likes to recite.

At 10 months, Chantelle was walking confidently and at a year she could talk, putting together long sentences.

By 28 months her mother, Margaret-Rose, 29, had taught her the phonetic alphabet. She said: "I was brushing my teeth and Chantelle read out C- O-L-G-A-T-E and said: 'Does that spell toothpaste mummy?' I explained what it said and she looked at a bottle on the bath and read out the word shampoo. I was staggered."

Two months later, when Chantelle arrived home after her first day at nursery school she amazed her parents by reciting her classmates' names in alphabetical order.

It was then the couple began to realise their daughter was extremely bright.

"I bought her a big Fisher Price clock to teach her the time," said her father Alan, 28, an RAF technician. "I sat down with her one morning and in an hour she'd grasped it. The toy cost me pounds 15 and it was a waste of money, she never needed to use it again and we had to buy her a watch instead."

At three years and 10 months she can subtract fractions, count backwards from 1,000 and identify and say numbers running into billions.

Her IQ will make her the youngest member of Mensa by six days, her nearest rival being Rhiannon Linington-Payne, who has an IQ of 155.