Literacy council sponsoring adult spelling bee

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Little tikes are usually behind the mikes at spelling bees. Not so at this bee.

The Curry County Literacy Council is sponsoring its first spelling bee for adults.

Teams of four will tackle commonly misspelled words from an array of categories, including mythical creatures, rock bands and countries of the world.

The event, however, is a trumpet for a serious issue.

According to Curry County Literacy Council officials, approximately 6,000 Curry County residents — 13 percent of the population — idle at the lowest reading ability level. That level is below what is necessary for gainful employment, according to the Council.

“The bee is supposed to be pretty light and fun. Nothing serious. We want a relaxed atmosphere where we can give people information about literacy,” said Miranda Gerberding, program director of the Curry County Literacy Council.

Adult spelling bees have been held in other states, but Gerberding said she is not aware of any literacy councils in New Mexico that have sponsored an adult bee. Literacy is a statewide issue, she said.

“We have found that people who have low literacy levels have found amazing ways to cope. But there is always danger — how much medicine should you give your child or if a letter is sent home from school. And there is still a stigma attached to low literacy,” Gerberding said.

The Curry County Literacy Council links those in need of literacy help with volunteers who work with them one-on-one to improve their basic reading skills, math skills, life, and English conversational skills. She said more volunteers are needed for the program.

• Spelling Bee for Adults will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Java Loft in the Master’s Centre, 810 21st St.

• The registration deadline is today. For information or to register, visit or contact Miranda Gerberding at 769-4119.