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Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 12:41 GMT
University challenge for Justin, six

Justin Chapman reading in lecture theatre Justin Chapman finds time for reading between lectures


While most six-year-olds are still learning to read - this boy is studying at university.

Child prodigy Justin Chapman has become the youngest ever student at New York state's Rochester University.

Justin's achievements
Age 2: Began reading
Age 3: Passed second grade (age seven) entry test
Age 4: Learned to read music and play the violin
Age 5: Started internet university studies
Age 6: Launched own website
Future? Hopes to finish first book by age 7


He has been rated "way beyond genius" by IQ experts.

Justin began studying an introductory history course called The Ancient World at the university this year. He has already earned a B grade for a paper on Babylonian creations, myths and Homer's epic poem The Iliad.

Justin's mother Elizabeth first recognised her son's profound intelligence when he kept crying at school - because he was so bored with the games the other children were being taught.

Online learning

She started teaching him at home because local schools could not cope with his fast learning. .

Justin Chapman and doors Justin Chapman struggles to open the heavy doors at Rochester University


Rochester University runs a programme enabling high school juniors and seniors to attend courses to notch up credits.

Justin, who lives in Penfield, New York, obtained status as a junior through Cambridge Academy, a correspondence school in Ocala, Florida.

He also is taking online courses in English and nutrition at Monroe Community College in Rochester, and is learning physics through an internet programme for gifted children at Stanford University.

His mother said: "He's doing good but it's a lot of work. It's a lot of reading.

"I wait outside the classroom. I don't like history."


We don't know how he'll test because he's beyond what we're set up to test
Linda Silverman, Denver's Gifted Development Centre
Justin, who began reading at the age of two, said: "I love learning. It just occurs at a faster pace for me."

Child psychologist Dr Robert Butterworth has warned Justin may become emotionally stunted if he does not take part in normal children's activities like playing.

But his mother has hit back by saying Justin's life is not dominated by studying - he also enjoys swimming, camping, fencing and fishing.

Website launch

He has also recently launched his own website.

The director of Denver's Gifted Development Centre Linda Silverman, said Justin's intelligence was probably unique.

She said: "We don't know how he'll test because he's beyond what we're set up to test."
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See also:
16 Feb 00 |  UK
From kindergarten to campus
03 Feb 99 |  UK
Young, gifted and a right handful
27 Sep 99 |  Education
Child prodigy exempted from fees
06 Jul 99 |  UK
Piece of cake for chess girl

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