Follow The Republic:
Come on, spellers. The next generation needs your help.
Bartholomew County Literacy Task Force is hoping that up to 10 more teams will register for its fourth annual spelling bee, which last year raised about $8,500 for the Tots Reading Lots program. Deadline is Friday.
The spelling bee this year will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Commons, with the unpredictable and entertaining Robert Hay-Smith serving as the master of ceremonies and a catered meal by Lemley’s Catering of Columbus.
Each team consists of four members, three of whom take turns on stage seated next to the other spellers for that round. Participants write their words instead of spelling them aloud — you shy folks can breathe a sigh of relief — and individual scores at the end of each round are not revealed.
After four rounds, the scores are tabulated and the winner is announced. As of Wednesday, about 25 teams had registered.
“We want people to come for the fun of it,” said Terry Whittaker, the spelling bee co-chairman. “You’re helping kids, but you’re also in for an extremely fun evening, with a lot of humor.”
Tots Reading Lots, a program of the Literacy Task Force, mails six books a year to participating children through age 4. This year, the program is serving about 500 households.
Whittaker said the importance of getting books into the hands of children before preschool is enormous. According to the task force, about 42 percent of children entering kindergarten in Bartholomew County have substandard literacy skills, and about a third of adults statewide read at below-minimum standards for successful employment.
Karen Garrity, chairwoman of the Literacy Task Force, said children love finding books in their mailboxes. For some households, those might be the only books the children own.
“They can sit down, look at the pictures and have their parents read to them,” Garrity said. “It’s a very special thing they share.”
But that magic will be diminished if spellers don’t step to the plate.
Team costs range from $120 for nonprofit teams to $250 for corporate teams. There are additional perks for sponsors who contribute at levels of $500 or $750 or more.
For $20, spectators are welcome to stay for the show and enjoy the same catered meal that the direct participants enjoy with their price of admission. Advance registration for spectators is not required.
At a glance
Registration forms for the Bartholomew County Literacy Task Force Spelling Bee are available through Friday at:
- Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St.
- Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. administration building, 1200 Central Ave.
- Online: bartholomewreads.org.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.