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Literacy Group Aims for "Triple Word Score" with Scrabble Funder

Kara Lofton

On Sunday, March 1*, teams of three from all over the Shenandoah Valley will bring their wits, cunning, and friendly competitive edge to Skyline Middle School to compete in—a Scrabble Tournament.  WMRA's Kara Lofton reports.

Picture this:  About one in seven American adults – 32 million -- have below-basic reading ability, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  Can the board game Scrabble combat illiteracy in the Shenandoah Valley? It can when paired with Skyline Literacy, a nonprofit organization based in Harrisonburg that is hosting their third annual Play for Literacy Scrabble Tournament on Sunday.

Elizabeth Girvan is the Executive Director at Skyline Literacy.

GIRVAN:  We serve adults, helping them with reading, writing skills, speaking English, we help adults who are legal permanent residents prepare for citizenship, we do some tutoring for the GED, and we empower people to have a better life through improved literacy skills.

Although the Play for Literacy Scrabble Tournament is one of Skyline’s biggest fundraisers, they also view it as a fun way for the community to get involved in the nonprofit.

GIRVAN:  We think it is a good fit with our mission and vision—we do it as a team event so it’s fun number one, and it takes a little bit of the pressure off anybody who is a little bit concerned whether or not their spelling skills aren’t up to speed for that.”

All profits from the fundraiser will go toward supporting the nonprofit’s programs.  As you consider whether you might want to form your own team of three and trek over to Skyline Middle School on a blustery February day, you might ponder what your life would be like if you were unable to read.

*[Note: The original date for the tournament was Sunday, February 22nd.  Because of the recent snowstorm, the tournament has been moved to Sunday, March 1st.  All other event details remain the same.]

Kara Lofton is a photojournalist based in Harrisonburg, VA. She is a 2014 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and has been published by EMU, Sojourners Magazine, and The Mennonite. Her reporting for WMRA is her radio debut.
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