The Literacy Council's 23rd Annual Spelling Bee

April 24, 2014, 6-9pm

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County's 23rd annual Spelling Bee will be held April 24, 2014 (6-9 p.m.) at “On Broadway” in downtown Asheville. Fifteen teams of three adults each will compete in the most spirited and outrageous word challenge of their lives!This isn’t your average spelling bee. Returning this year as Emcee is David Ostergaard, formerly of Lazoom, who will preside over a Sing-a-Long themed event featuring a barbershop chorus and other surprise entertainment acts. Team registration is $250 and includes a pizza dinner, dessert, prizes, and access to CrowdRise, an online fundraising platform that allows teams to raise the registration fee by reaching out to family, friends, and coworkers. Audience tickets are $10 and include a gourmet dessert during intermission.

In-service on the Affordable Care Act

Friday, November 8, 12-1:30pm

Confused about healthcare reform and what it means for you and/or your students?  Join us this Friday, November 8, at 12:00 noon, to learn more.  A representative from Pisgah Legal Services, one of two agencies in Buncombe County providing trained volunteers to assist people in navigating the healthcare marketplace, will outline our options in North Carolina and how to access them. Space is limited, so please call to reserve a seat!

Thomas Wolfe 8K

October 19, 2013, 10am

The Literacy Council is thrilled to participate for the second year in the Thomas Wolfe 8K race. Literacy Council materials will appear in every runner's packet and a portion of the proceeds from the race will go to the Literacy Council. In exchange, we will provide 10-15 volunteers to help with registration. If you'd like to volunteer, email If you'd like to run in the race, you can receive a $10 discount when you register using the promo code "TW8KRead2013." Registration information is listed here

Family Computer Literacy Night at Enka Middle

October 22, 2013, 6-8pm

This event is open to the public. The Literacy Council partners with Enka Community School to provide basic computer literacy instruction. We will go over creating a word document and signing up for an email address. We will also briefly discuss how to sign up for healthcare under the new healthcare system and how to check your EBT balance on the website.

Volunteer Tutor Orientation and Training Schedule

Download a PDF file showing dates and time for tutor orientation sessions and tutor training classes for Adult Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).   Classes fill up fast.   Schedule your seat today via e-mail to or by calling 828-254-3442, ext 204.  

Tutor Orientation and Training Schedule


Events Archives

The Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction

featuring National Book Award Winner and Best Selling Author Charles Frazier
August 23, 2013 | Renaissance Asheville Hotel | 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Charles Frazier

Update August 13:

Click here to view a sampling of this year's auction items. Check back often; the album is updated regularly.

New York Times bestselling author and winner of the National Book Award Charles Frazier will be joined by a local favorite, author Brian Lee Knopp, to keynote the Literacy Council’s Authors for Literacy Event on August 23, 2013.

Charles Frazier is best known for Cold Mountain, the 1997 historical novel that won the  National Book Award for Fiction Frazier’s captivating second and third novels, Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods, also take place in the Southern Appalachians. Brian Lee Knopp penned Mayhem in Mayberry, which chronicles the adventures of a small-town private investigator, and co-authored the collaborative novel Naked Came the Leaf Peeper.

The evening will open with a cocktail hour silent auction, to include distinctive art and crafts, autographed and rare books, and priceless opportunities to enjoy excursions in Asheville and beyond. Following the cocktail hour, guests will enjoy a three-course dinner, Frazier and Knopp’s presentation, and a book signing.

The Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction will be held at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel on Fri., Aug. 23 from 6-9:30 p.m. Tickets are available to the general public beginning May 15 for $75.00. Call Michelle Robinson at 828-254-3442 x206 or visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available through our featured bookseller, Malaprops.

Click here to listen to Charles Frazier on the 8/3/13 episode of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me.

Click here to watch the WLOS PSA about the Literacy Council and our Authors for Literacy event.

Click here to read the full press release.


Spring Potluck Picnic

This year we will gather on Saturday May 4th at Asheville Recreation Park in east Asheville. All tutors, students and friends of the Literacy Council are encouraged to attend with their families. Click here for full details.

April 11th, 2013
"Bring it to the Bee" spelling bee
a wonderful success!


Bring it to the bee

Thanks to all who helped make this year's Bee our most successful in recent years. As a special event designed to raise both funds and friends for the Literacy Council, it is also tasked with increasing the awareness of the many individuals in Buncombe County who struggle with literacy issues. This year’s Bee seems to have achieved all three of these goals, drawing more teams and more audience members, and raising more money – over $5,700 – than any Council Spelling Bee in recent history. These funds will allow us to continue to support the 200+ volunteers who tutor over 300 individuals in Buncombe County.

Click here to read a full recap of the event written by Megan Northcote.

Click here to see photos taken by volunteer Megan Northcote from this year's bee.


December 7th, 2012
Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Night

Ten Thousand Villages

15% of sales made between 5-8:00 pm on Dec. 7th will be donated to the Literacy Council. Help us make the most of this opportunity by planning your shopping calendar early. Ten Thousand Villages' mission is to provide vital, fair income to craftspeople in the developing world by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America. The sale of these products helps to provide a fair wage for the artisans and enables them to pay for food, education, health care, and housing. Through Community Shopping Nights, Ten Thousand Villages is working to support local nonprofit agencies, as well. Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of people near and far.

For more information contact Jon Hettrick 254-3442 or

Print out a flyer and help spread the word

October 18th, 2012
Literacy Council Book Club Launch

Do you:
Like to read?
Like the Literacy Council?
Like getting to know interesting people?
Join our new book club!
Selected titles will support the value of literacy and the importance of education for all. Club is open to all friends of the Literacy Council and will meet six to eight times per year on Thursday nights.
1st meeting Thursday, Oct. 18th 7-8:30pm at Montford Books & More
Call Donna Temple, Augustine Project volunteer, for more info. 828-551-6828

Print out a flyer and help spread the word

August 24, 2012
Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction featuring Jill Conner Browne

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County celebrated its 5th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction. The evening was filled with laughter and fun. Keynote author and multiple #1 New York Times bestselling author Jill Conner Browne entertained the audience with stories of becoming the self-proclaimed Boss Queen of the Sweet Potato Queens. Jill is a longtime supporter of literacy programs. . Her philosophy and world-view is recounted through the rollicking, raucous and riotously funny Sweet Potato Queen tomes. Authors 2012

The event raised nearly $19,000 for the Literacy Council's programs through the ticket sales, an 80 item silent auction, and a new Fund-A-Need live auction. We offer special thanks to our Platinum Partner WLOS/WMYA, Gold Partners Festivea Hospitality Group, Prismatic Services, TD Bank, and Target. We also thank our other corporate partners listed here.

Thanks to all who supported this event by donating or purchasing items at the silent auction, attending the event, inviting guests or simply by helping to create a community where literacy is highly valued and achievable for all.


July 2012
The Literacy Council of Buncombe County Public Service Announcement

Thanks to WLOS/WMYA for underwriting our PSA.


May 5, 2012LCBC Staff
Literacy Council Spring Potluck Picnic

The staff and Board of Directors, gathered with tutors and students at Recreation park for a potluck celebration and to recognize the accomplishments of our studnets. Students commit to meet with their tutor for a minimum of 9 months for 2 hours per week when joining the program.  This years event was also used to honor Amanda Edwards Executive Director for the past 8 years as she moves to her next adventure with the American Red Cross.

March 22, 2012
Who wants to be a Spellionaire?

Golden SpelersGivens Estates team Golden Spelers took home the top honors as best spellers in Buncombe County. The evening was highlighted by laughter and fun along with some serious concentration and spelling abilities. Teams faced challangeing words as well as having thier concentration skills tested by the pandemonium caused by a costumed, cheering audience. Click here to see photos of the event.

August 26, 2011
Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction featuring Ron Rash

Guests enjoyed a cocktail hour silent auction and dinner before hearing from New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash. Ron began by sharing his unique journey to becoming an acclaimed writer: his passion for the written word was ignited by his grandfather, a hard-working Buncombe County resident who, like so many Literacy Council students, never learned to read or write. He went on to read some of his recent poetry set in rural Appalachia, which drew sighs of admiration from the event’s guests.Olga painting

Other highlights from the evening included live mountain music by the Over the Mountain Boys, live watercolor painting by artist Olga Dorenko and, for the first time, a live auction. A former Literacy Council student, Mary Riddle, shared her unique and inspirational story—a journey to earn her GED with the help of a Literacy Council tutor.

This was the highest attended Authors for Literacy yet, with over 260 guests. The event raised over $30,000 in unrestricted funding to support the Literacy Council of Buncombe County. This funding will benefit the Literacy Council’s students who are working day after day to improve their lives, often in spite of great obstacles.

Click here to view a slideshow of the 4th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction. All photos by Black Box Photography: Steve Mann

May 21, 2011
Literacy Council Spring Potluck Picnic

The staff and Board of Directors, gathered with tutors and students at Carrier Park for a potluck celebration and to recognize volunteer tutors for their dedicated service to the Literacy Council. Tutors commit to tutor for a minimum of 9 months when joining the program.  On Saturday, tutors were recognized for service above and beyond, many of whom have been volunteering for 10 years or more.  The current active tutor with the longest history, Ann Marie Behling, was honored for her 14 years with the Literacy Council. Click here to see photos of the event..

Spelling Bee Renovation.

May 2010 marked the Literacy Council of Buncombe County’s 20th annual Spelling BeeSpellebration. We aspire for the Spelling Bee to be successful for another 20 years and therefore plan to take a one-year hiatus for event development. This additional planning time for the 2012 Spelling Bee will enable us to revamp the event, keeping the challenging words and event details that you adore while increasing benefits for participants, the community, and the Literacy Council.

Over the past couple of years, we have received numerous suggestions about how to improve our Spelling Bee. Suggestions include: changing the date, involving a wider audience, including entertaining breaks from the intense competition, keeping the word lists creative and thought-provoking, increasing the financial and outreach benefits for the Literacy Council. We would love to have your input!

If you have ever been involved with the Spelling Bee as a speller, audience member, sponsor, or volunteer, please email your ideas for improvement to

October 27, 2010
1st Annual Stakeholders Meeting

With the backdrop of a mountain-top autumn sunset, volunteer tutors, donors, board members, and Corporate Partners gathered to learn about the Literacy Council’s 2009-2010 fiscal year accomplishments.
Former Literacy Council student and spokesperson Mary Riddle captivated the audience with her inspirational story, program directors shared their annual statistics, and Executive Director Amanda Edwards gave an organizational and budget overview.  
“The Literacy Council is growing and expanding each year,” said Amanda Edwards. Click here to visit the 2009-2010 Annual Report.

Meeting space was generously provided by M7 Event Solutions
Wine was donated by Bed & Biscuit Pet Spa

October 7, 2010
“Read, Write, Discover—The Circle of Literacy,”
A Lecture by Elizabeth Kostova

Local author Elizabeth Kostova gave a lecture to over 80 guests in support of the Literacy Council and Carolina Day School. Kostova told of her adventures as a New York Times best-selling author and the readers who her novels reach.
“When I traveled for my first novel,” Kostova told fellow writer Rob Neufeld, “I went to about ten countries, including all over the U.S., and people would come up to me and tell me something about what reading had meant to them. I was very moved by the stories and started writing them down. I’ve been waiting for a while to have some form in which to express them… Raising money for organizations that help people build their abilities—from reading signs to being transformed and being good citizens in a democracy—that seemed perfect.”
Kostova also shared her experience as the mother of a child who struggles with and triumphs over dyslexia.  She gave statistics about other children and adults who have similar learning disabilities, and told the audience about the impact that Carolina Day School’s Key Learning Center and the Literacy Council have on these individuals locally.

Providing contributions to the event and VIP pre-reception were:
Bed & Biscuit Pet Spa
the Captain’s Bookshelf
Chad Wood, and Short Street Cakes
Carolina Day School provided the venue

August 27, 2010
3rd Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction
featuring New York Times Best-Selling Author John Hart

John Hart

The 3rd Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction was held Friday, August 27, 2010 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.  215 guests attended to support the Literacy Council and hear New York Times best-selling author John Hart. VIP tickets, which included an intimate reception with the author, sold out.

The silent auction included 63 items and packages, donated by 88 local businesses and individuals. The most popular items included:

  • A 2-night stay in Charleston and 3-night stay in Murrells Inlet with two rounds of golf (courtesy of Festiva Hospitality Group)
  • A sunset cruise on Lake Toxaway and dinner for 8 (courtesy of John & Julie Heinitsh)
  • “Moon Over Pisgah” framed digital photograph (courtesy of Mary Costello)
  • Locally hand crafted pottery (courtesy of Barbara Gerber Pottery & Joe T. Kasben Pottery)
  • "Our Favorite Wines” package, including 12 bottles of wine, each recommended by a Literacy Council board member, and a polymer clay wine bottle stopper (courtesy of Good Night Irene & the Literacy Council Board of Directors)

John Hart shared his “fifteen-year overnight success story,” leaving 200 guests bright-eyed, captivated, and laughing out loud.  His pursuit of the writing life took many wayward turns: sanding teak on the Carolina coast, going to school to become an accountant, working on helicopters in Alaska, drawing pints in a London pub, and practicing law in his hometown.  The commonality throughout his journey, however, was an infectious love for family and literature.  Few could forget the humor, honesty, and engaging story-telling that John Hart shared with the Literacy Council audience on Aug. 27, 2010.

July 5-16, 2010
Asheville Augustine Project Tutor Training

Are you interested in helping to close the achievement gap between low-income and middle class students? This project trains tutors to provide free, high quality, 1-to-1, long-term, instruction in reading, writing and spelling to children and teens who qualify for free or reduced school lunches. 

Our tutors receive 60 hours of training, and a bag full of teaching materials and curriculum before they are assigned an Augustine child. The two week training class includes a practicum during which the trainee evaluates a student, and then teaches five consecutive multi-sensory lessons under the supervision of a practicum supervisor.  The tutor course is taught by a team of experienced trainers who present such topics as the definition and characteristics of dyslexia, the history and principles of Orton-Gillingham, phonological awareness, phonology (including sounds, syllable types and spelling rules), screening instruments and procedures, sight words, cursive handwriting, phonics games and activities, decoding, fluency and comprehension, vocabulary, written expression and advocacy.  Wilson Reading System materials guide the lesson planning process. 

Tutor training takes place at Randolph Learning Center on Montford Avenue in downtown Asheville. The course and materials are offered free of charge to new tutors, in exchange for them offering at least 60 pro bono sessions to a student in need in WNC.

2010 Training schedule: Weekdays July 5-16 from 9:00am-4:00pm

For more information, download this information sheet or visit the Augustine Project home page


June 2010
Winesdays at the Wine Studio of Asheville

Each month, local business owner, Jessica Gualano chooses a non-profit to feature during The Wine Studio of Asheville's weekly "Winesday" wine tastings. The Literacy Council of Buncombe County was chosen as the June 2010 featured organization.

Each Wednesday evening in June, our supporters and guests enjoyed a tasting of five wines for $5. Click here to see photos from the June 9 Winesday. Proceeds benefitted the Literacy Council's programs to teach adults basic reading, writing, math, and English language skills through individual and small group instruction by trained volunteers. 

To learn more about The Wine Studio of Asheville: click here to visit their website, follow them on twitter, friend them on facebook, or follow their blog.


May 27, 2010
20th Annual Spelling Bee

SpellbindersFourteen Spelling Bee teams—sponsored by local businesses, non-profits, community associations, colleges, book clubs and friends—competed in the 20th Annual Spelling Bee on May 27, 2010. One hundred guests attended to cheer on their favorite team. The great mix of spelling talents and audience personalities made this an exciting evening, with rounds lasting late into the evening.

* Evergreen Community Charter School fielded the first youth team in Literacy Council Spelling Bee history.  They spelled along with the best of the competitors!
* Local celebrities competing this year include AB Tech President Dr. Hank Dunn and Asheville Citizen-Times reporter John Boyle.
* Warren Wilson College held their own spelling bee on March 12, 2010, to support the Literacy Council and find the best spellers to represent them at the 20th Annual Spelling Bee.
* The Villages at Crest Mountain team stood out with silly hats.
* Givens Estates bussed in a cheering crowd to support their team.

The Spellbinders walked away with the 20th Anniversary Spelling Bee Grand Prize , which included autographed copies of “Water for Elephants,” “The Historian,” and “The Last Child” for each team member.  They also received a trophy and a gift certificate to celebrate their win at Bonefish Grill.  The Spellbinders were also the Spirit Prize winners.

This year’s teams were:
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Asheville Citizen-Times
Asheville City Schools
Asheville Savings Bank
Congregation Beth HaTephila Brotherhood
Evergreen Community Charter School
Givens Estates
Home Trust Bank
Manna Food Bank
Mountain Bizworks
Norwood Park Werd Nerds 
The Spellbinders
Villages at Crest Mountain
Warren Wilson College


September 3, 2009
United Way Day of Caring

The United Way through Hands-On Asheville-Buncombe will deploy volunteers from Eaton Corporation throughout the county to champion the cause of literacy. The Eaton Corporation team will help the Literacy Council raise awareness about the problems of non-readers in our community by distributing bookmarks and materials at libraries, bookstores, community centers, and local businesses.

The Literacy Council is always looking for volunteer tutors and actively recruiting new students to the Adult Education Program. Be a volunteer. Refer a student. Get involved in a day of caring!


August 28, 2009
2 nd Annual Author’s for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction

A maximum capacity crowd turned out for the 2nd Annual Author’s for Literacy fundraiser held at Gold Sponsor DoubleTree Biltmore Hotel.   Keynote speaker was Asheville's own Sara Gruen and NY Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants.


We offer special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor Blue Ridge Energy Systems, Gold Sponsor Greenlife for their wine donation, and our Silver Sponsor Representative Bruce Goforth.   Auction items ranging in value from $40.00 to $2000.00 were donated by numerous talented artists, individuals, and local businesses.   The event surpassed all goals, raising over $25,000 to support literacy.


May 27, 2009
19th Annual Spelling Bee

A major fund raiser for the Literacy Council, this year’s event raised over $19,000 from corporate sponsorships.   Spellers from Given Estates were the winning team!

The Spelling Bee was hosted by the Literacy Council of Buncombe County in conjunction with the American Association of University Women.  The event was held at AB Technical College’s Laurel Auditorium and 20 teams participated.   Door prizes were donated by a variety of local businesses in Asheville.

Through the years, with the support of the business community and the general public of Buncombe County, the Spelling Bee has raised over $146,000 for area literacy programs.


May 18, 2009
Open House

Monday May 18th 2009 marks a monumental day for the Literacy Council of Buncombe County. Join the staff, board, volunteer tutors, students and the Chamber of Commerce at a ribbon-cutting and opening of the photo and writing exhibit Readers Are Leaders, from 4-6pm at 31 College Place, downtown Asheville.

The Readers Are Leaders exhibit includes short stories authored by our students.   Visit the Council’s new space, enjoy the reception, and meet the Literacy Council.


September 12, 2008
1st Annual Author’s for Literacy – An Evening in Eastern Europe

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County launched its first Author’s for Literacy fundraiser this year.   The event was held at UNC-Asheville’s Reuter Center where author Elizabeth Kostova spoke to an audience of over 100.   We especially thank Reynolds Mountain for their sponsorship of the event.