The Sozo Foundation in Vrygrond hopes its new literacy competition, Battle of the Words, will contribute to the improvement of children’s literacy skills.The foundation’s educentre recently launched the competition. According to Wendy Abrahams, programme manager at the foundation, the competition is divided into four categories: the spelling bee, essay writing, poetry and the spoken word.The competition, which is set to become an annual event, has attracted the support of several organisations. Abrahams explains: “We opened the competition to other organisations. Afrika Tikkun and Ikamva Youth are now partnering with us. Learners from these groups are participating in the competition.“We have also partnered with FunDza. It assists with the adjudication. The Department of social development contributes towards the awards for the winners.”More than 100 learners entered the competition. The programme, aimed at getting learners interested in reading and writing, has been a huge success. “The purpose of this initiative was to encourage learners to love words, to read more and to express themselves through words,” said Abrahams.“The submissions have been of a very high standard, especially the spoken word – surprisingly – because it was authentic. They spoke from the heart.”Recognising the potential in entrants, Abrahams urged two learners to put their skills to the test in another competition. “I encouraged two learners to also enter the Community Chest Election Bursary Competition and they were placed in the top eight. This was an essay writing competition,” she explains.While the submissions of essays, poems and the spoken word have closed, the foundation is still holding more heats of the spelling bee and it should be completed this week. The finale of the competition is set to take place on Thursday 26 September at a venue to be confirmed at a later date.For more information on the foundation, call 021 825 5529 or visit www.thesozofoundation.org.za.