Annual Scrabble Tournament to benefit literacy takes new form amidst pandemic

Game on! Karie Geiss with New River Valley Radio Group will host a Facebook live event ( at noon on May 15 to announce the winners of the Virtual Scrabble Tournament — Home Edition, sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of the

Who’s ready to Scrabble?

Seize the “play” and Scrabble together, yet apart, May 8-12 during the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley’s Virtual Scrabble Tournament — Home Edition.

The Virtual Scrabble Tournament Home Edition is being held in lieu of the local adult literacy organization’s annual Scrabble fundraising event, which cannot happen this spring due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The tournament is free to all who want to play, but Literacy Volunteers of the NRV hopes participants will consider a donation to support their mission to help local adults learn to read.  All competitors will be entered into a drawing to win restaurant gift certificates generously donated by Roots Natural Kitchen (coming to Blacksburg during the summer of 2020) and McAlister’s Deli in Blacksburg.

Tournament rules and awards are posted at

The tournament takes place over five days — May 8 to May 12. During those five days, everyone plays two games. Competitors can use any version of online Scrabble they choose (Words with Friends, Scrabble Go, etc.) or they can use a board to play against individuals in their household. Competitors can play as an individual (against a friend, random person, or computer) or can form a team of three (and come up with a creative team name!) to enter the team category.

After completing two games, each player submits his or her game scores (win or lose!) using an online form available at Players are encouraged to submit photos of themselves and their teams (in costume, if they’re brave!) as well as their game boards.

All games must be completed and scores reported by Tuesday, May 12. On Wednesday, May 13, voting will take place for “Best Costume,” “Most Creative Team Name,” and “Most Spellbinding Play.”

Tournament Champions and award winners will be announced on Friday, May 15 at noon on and at a Facebook live event hosted by Karie Geiss with New River Valley Radio Group.

“A night out on the town may be off the table, but we can offer you a night in with the tiles,” said Linda Jilk, Executive Director. “Usually, players pay a $35 per person ticket fee to participate in our annual Scrabble fundraiser. If you are able to help us out financially during this critical time, we’d be so very grateful to you a donation of any amount will help harness the power of literacy and create sustainable and lasting change for individuals, families and our community.

LVNRV’s Scrabble fundraiser will support programs to give adults the language and literacy skills they need for personal independence and family self-sufficiency. 

LVNRV, a United Way partner agency, provides free instruction — in reading, writing, math, basic computer skills, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and assistance preparing for exams such as the GED, U.S. Citizenship test, and driver’s license — to help adults achieve their goals. LVNRV also provides family literacy programming to help parents learn to read to their children and support their children’s education.

More than 24,000 New River Valley adults read at or below Level 1, which indicates these adults struggle to read brief texts on familiar topics to locate a single piece of information. More than 38,000 local adults have Level 1 basic math skills — for example, these adults struggle with solving a one-step problem involving counting or percents.

LVNRV”s 2021 Scrabble Tournament will be held Thursday, April 29 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the German Club in Blacksburg.

For more information on the 2020 Virtual Scrabble Tournament Home Edition, please visit, email, or call (540) 382-7262.










The virtual Scrabble event is free, but donations to Literacy Volunteers of the NRV will be gratefully accepted to help local adults learn to read.









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