After months and months of intense reading, the brainy bookworms from Church of the Holy Spirit School are prepped and ready for the Battle of the Books competition in the Wichita Diocese Catholic Schools.
The annual reading contest for 5th and 6th graders begins this week in the diocese, which includes 25 elementary schools in south central Kansas.
The Jeopardy-like team competition will test their knowledge of this year’s titles, including Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Wichita author Grant Overstake.
Overstake met with youngsters from Church of the Holy Spirit School to help them prepare for competition, and to share a little about the process of writing a novel.
“There’s no way to know in advance what questions they’ll be asked, so we spent time reviewing the characters, setting, plot, and themes,” he said, adding, “It was inspiring to see how excited they are about reading. This is a great program.”
The team coaches at the school are Michelle Smarsh and Ashley Doty. Classroom teachers for these students are Doty, Erin Hays, and Crystal Holub. The principal is Kelly Bright, who coordinates the Battle of the Books program in the dioceses.
Overstake, too, was a bookworm in his youth. Today his novel can be found on library shelves in the Wichita School District as well as in local Catholic schools. It centers on a gritty heroine, Maggie Steele, a gutsy Kansas farm girl who pours her broken heart into the daring and sometimes dangerous sport of pole-vaulting.
As a Teaching Artist for Arts Partners of Wichita, Overstake presents assemblies and professional development workshops for students from 4th grade through high school.
To learn more about bringing Grant to your school, contact Arts Partners Program Coordinator Nancy Lucas at 316-262-4771, ext. 100 or email nancy (at) artspartners.org.