More than 160 students in the Greater McKees Rocks area received their own personal dictionaries in November. Promoting the importance of literacy, the Greater McKees Rocks (Sto-Ken-Rox) Rotary Club, in conjunction with The Dictionary Project, donated to third grade students at Robinson Township Christian School, Sto-Rox Elementary School, St. John of God School and St. Malachy`s School.
Rotary believes that by having the proper tools, children have a better opportunity to become students who are able to improve their reading and comprehension abilities. Research shows that children learn to read until the third grade and, from then on, they read to learn. Rotarians across the nation have been working with The Dictionary Project for many years to help these students succeed.
Before receiving the dictionaries the students learned about Rotary, a service organization consisting of volunteers who believe in `service above self.` Most of the students were curious as to how Rotary got its name, so the dictionaries were handed out, and the fun began. `Rotary: turning around a central point or axis, as a wheel; rotating,` one student read. The club president then explained that the founding members of the organization would take turns hosting the meetings or `rotating` the meeting location.
The best part of this project, according to the club president Denise Vergenes, was seeing the excitement as the children opened their new dictionaries and began picking out words to share.
`Their eyes just lit up! This is why I joined Rotary – to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,` she said.