Scrabble for Literacy

Spelling and word games are commonplace in society. From the crossword puzzles in newspapers, to the mobile phone game Words with Friends and the famous board game, Scrabble — people love to work with words.

In 2000, the Bell County Council on Literacy, Inc. (BCCL) began hosting its annual Scrabble for Literacy event/tournament. This event also works as a fundraiser. This year’s event is being held April 14.

“We held the fundraiser each year until the flood of 2011. At that time we lost most of the Scrabble boards and materials. The community kept asking that we do the Scrabble tournament again so in 2016 we held the Scrabble event,” said Patty Burnside, vice president of BCCL.

“The event came about when I attended a national conference held by ProLiteracy and one of the workshops was about fundraisers, specifically Scrabble. Our Scrabble tournament follows the rules of the National Scrabble Association and they were instrumental in helping us get started in 2000 by donating the deluxe Scrabble board games and other materials to hold a tournament,” said Burnside.

The funds that are raised from the tournament go to help pay for direct service resources that the literacy center needs. It also helps with GED fees when a student is ready for testing.

“We believe that a community is only as strong as its weakest link. This community has an illiteracy rate of 30-40 percent. When we enable adults with the opportunity to learn to read, and many to work toward and earn their GEDs, their lives are changed, as well as the strength of our community. The larger a person’s vocabulary, the better the person can communicate with others by choosing the right words for the occasion,” said BCCL President Ann Maciula.

The wordplay begins with registration at 5 p.m. at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in the grill area. The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Local businesses in the community have donated refreshments such drinks, pizza, vegetable and fruit trays and even Chinese food.

There are 24 sponsored teams and 78 players total signed up for the event.