The Christian County Literacy Council announced this week that it is hosting a spelling bee at the Alhambra Theatre in the coming weeks and the council is encouraging students to sign up and take part in the competition.

The spelling bee will take place Tuesday, Sept. 28 beginning at 6 p.m. and requires students that are interested to register online by Sept. 15. Registration and participation in the spelling bee is entirely free of charge.

The spelling bee will be separated into divisions by grade with grades 3-5 competing against each other, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Each division will also be awarded prizes for the division’s first, second and third place spellers.

First place will win $100, an Amazon Kindle and a medal, while second place will win $100 and a medal and third place wins $50 and a medal.

CCLC Executive Director Francene Gilmer shared with the New Era that the students who register will be given study guides for the spelling bee to get an idea of the type of words that will be introduced during the spelling bee.

“We’re just hoping our students come prepared and we’re prepared with lots of words,” Gilmer said. “The words are not public, but the category of words and what students should know at certain levels is there.”

Gilmer also shared that the literacy council is hosting the event to allow students to have fun, encourage reading, spelling and writing and to let students and families know that the literacy council is a resource for students to help them improve their academics.

“The literacy council is all about encouraging our young people, our young scholars to increase their reading ability, but also to make sure that students have books and reading materials at hand,” Gilmer said.

“Spelling, reading and writing are intertwined, so we’re trying to make sure that our community and students know that we’re here and we can provide a service that helps enhance students’ progress in the classroom.

“We hope students see that the spelling bee is fun, that spelling and reading is fun and that there is some competition there. After this, we want them to continue to aspire to read, learn and understand words and maybe increase their vocabulary.”

Gilmer added that if the spelling bee acquires a large amount of students that sign up, due to the limited space in the Alhambra Theater with COVID-19 safety precautions, there may be a preliminary round the week before the spelling bee is set to take place.

The preliminary round, if needed, would be held on Tuesday, Sept. 21 and would aim to help reduce the amount of students that would take part in the main part of the spelling bee on Sept. 28.

“On the 28th, we can’t stay (at the Alhambra) all night getting through each round, so we’ll pair it down to a reasonable number during the preliminary round,” Gilmer said. “It’s kind of like doing an elimination round, if you will, so that we don’t have to do that the night of the 28th.”

COVID pandemic safety precautions will be observed for the spelling bee, Gilmer said, which will include social distancing and for those in the audience, masks will be required being that the event is taking place indoors.

“Certainly, our students as they are competing will not have to wear masks, but our guests will have to wear them,” Gilmer said.

To register a student online, you can visit https://forms.gle/GL9KJJX5WAcMSFzNA and complete the registration form.

For more information, you can also visit the literacy council’s Facebook page at the Christian County Literacy Council.

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