Elks Lodge gives third graders at Fletcher Walker dictionaries

 Third-graders at Fletcher Walker Elementary each received a dictionary from members of the Elks Lodge in Susanville. Russell Brown, a former exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge, distributed the books Tuesday, May 5.

The dictionaries are purchased through contributions from local Elks members and given to all third-grade students in Lassen County.

Lodges across the United States participate in the Dictionary Project, which was founded in 1995 with the goal to distribute this reference tool to all third-graders in the United States. In 2008, 2,417,994 dictionaries were handed out.

The goal of the program is to `assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers.` The third-grade class is targeted because educators identify it as the time when students no longer are learning to read but reading to learn.

Before handing out the dictionaries, Brown told the students at Fletcher Walker that he had brought a few words with him that sound the same but are spelled differently. He wrote some of them on the whiteboard. They included `hour` and `our`; `here` and `hear`; and `there` and `their.`

The students were quickly caught up in the lesson. Their teacher, Michelle Spencer, explained it was a topic they had been studying.

To help the children get used to looking up words Brown wrote the word `present` on the whiteboard three times telling students this word had many meanings and could be used in several ways. He encouraged them to look up the word in their new dictionary when they got home from school to see what a vital research tool they had been given.

In addition to the dictionary, Brown passed out a bookmark that prompted students to say `no` to drug and alcohol use.