First Scrabble Festival aids reading program

May 18

Scrabble players can double word or triple word score their way to fun and a good cause next month.

The first Scrabble Festival for Hood River County SMART will be on June 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital’s Simmons Education Center.

SMART stands for Start Making A Reader Today, a volunteer-based literacy program for children in kindergarten through third grade. A local SMART Committee was formed in February to oversee funding and operation of the program, which currently serves Cascade Locks, Parkdale and Mid Valley elementary schools; the SMART committee will expand the program to May Street, Pine Grove, and May Street schools, in 2005-06.

“SMART serves children throughout the county, and the Scrabble Festival is an opportunity for word enthusiasts to have fun and give a boost to a proven literacy program at the same time,” said Kirby Neumann-Rea, SMART Committee chairman.

In the Scrabble Festival, players donate a $25 entry fee and gain pledges. Participants will play a planned four games of 45 minutes each against a rotating group of competitors. The event will contain a variety of twists and turns, with players anteing or getting back money, depending on words or scores played. For example, by playing a word from a selected (and secret) word list, participants can earn $5 back — or pay another $1. A $10 rebate goes to any player who totals a pre-selected “secret score.”

A $50 prize will go to the day’s top point scorer, and other prizes will be awarded.

The field is limited to 40 players; sign-up deadline is May 27. A 14-and-under division, with $10 entry fee, will be added if there is sufficient interest.

Pick up an entry form at the Hood River News, BCI Group at 307 Oak St., or the library, or call Kirby Neumann-Rea, SMART Committee chairman, at 386-1234.

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