Dictionaries spelled out for local third graders

The Republican Women of St. Charles teamed up with the Dictionary Project to make sure that every 3rd-grade student in the parish received a free dictionary.The club gave out about 960 dictionaries, but the students soon realized that these were no ordinary books.

`At first, when they thought they were getting a dictionary, they weren`t that excited until they saw this dictionary,` said Rita Carlson, the club`s president. `They could see that there were a lot of really interesting things in the dictionary. Some of the kids really liked the pages about Braille and sign language, and they got a big kick out of the last page which has the longest word in the English language, which is almost 2,000 letters long.`

Club members went to every 3rd-grade class in the parish, both public and private, to deliver the dictionaries and tell the students everything they could use the book for. They gave out more dictionaries than any other Republic Women`s club in the New Orleans metro area.

The Republican Women of South Louisiana received a grant in 2009 from Batture Park Inc. to buy the dictionaries, Carlson said.

`We always do something to promote education and when this opportunity came along with the grant we just thought it was perfect. Our parish is small enough that we can go to every school in the parish,` she said. `And of course 3rd grade is perfect because…the children are learning how to use dictionaries and learning to use them for things other than definitions and it helps them leading up to 4th grade state testing.`

The women showed the students that the dictionaries not only had words, but also weights and measures, multiplication tables, biographies of U.S. Presidents and state facts.

The Dictionary Project is a national initiative started in 1992 in Georgia. Since then, the project has provided almost 10 million students with free personal dictionaries.

To find out more about the National Dictionary Project, visit www.dictionaryproject.org.