Reading, writing and arithmetic are all important subjects children learn in school, and with the help of the Newburyport Rotary Club last week third-grade students got some help with the reading and writing parts.
`One of the Rotary International`s prime objectives is literacy around the world. People think it`s just a problem in Third World countries, but it`s not. People in the U.S. struggle as well,` said Susan Christ, foundation chairwoman.
On Thursday and Friday, the teachers and third-graders of the Bresnahan Elementary School and the River Valley Charter School were given dictionaries by Rotarians who visited their classrooms.
`We bought a total of 240 dictionaries for the third-graders, each with a label for them to personalize it and put their name on it,` Christ said.
The dictionaries were bought through The Dictionary Project, a nonprofit organization that assists students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing them with their own personal dictionary.
`Rotary U.S. has been involved in The Dictionary Project for several years,` Christ said. `They can be bought at a reasonable rate, and it`s a Rotary Club in the Midwest that channels the orders. Many clubs in the U.S. participate in The Dictionary Project.`
The organization has provided more than 11 million students with dictionaries so far, and according to their Web site, they chose third-graders to receive them because they see that time as `the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn.`
Christ said the event was a success, and the Rotarians who presented the dictionaries were split up into teams of two. They enjoyed the time they got to spend with the kids.
`Some Rotarians had the classes look up words like liberty, rotary or independent with their new dictionaries. One third-grade class sang a welcome song to the presenters, and the Rotarians sang a Rotary song back to them, and another sent handwritten thank-you letters to Jane Yandell, who presented by herself,` she said.
The Newburyport Rotary Club takes on many literacy projects every year, as it is one of their main focuses. In March, they will be a part of the Read Across America Program in coordination with the school department, where they will read stories to kindergartners and first- and second-graders, and they will also participate in a Literary Festival in April.
Christ said this is the Rotary Club`s third year working with The Dictionary Project, initiated by the club`s former president Grace Connolly, and the group hopes to make it an annual event because of the great message the organization provides.
`The Dictionary Project promotes and teaches literacy in your own community and gives the kids something they can take home with them, which they can`t often do,` Christ said.