The Dictionary Project in Wichita Falls

 Some Wichita Falls third graders are getting a gift they can use through out the rest of their education. It’s all part of a program called The Dictionary Project.

Nearly eleven million children have received a dictionary through this program. Now, dozens of Wichita Falls students can enjoy the benefits of a large vocabulary thanks to a local State Farm Insurance agent.

The goal of The Dictionary Project is to help students complete the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers. Which is something Wichita Falls State Farm Insurance agent Mike Morris wants to be part of.

‘If the kids understand the words they’re reading the more they’re going to know and better they’ll do in school, life and enjoy reading and get an education,’ he said.

95 cents of every dollar donated from sponsors like Morris go toward the purchase of dictionaries.

96 dictionaries were donated to the Southern Hills third graders. Enough for each student to have their own.

Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn. Much of the ciriculum is spent expanding vocabulary, and teachers say dictionaries are one of the best tools to use.

”Enormous’.. They look it up in a dictionary and see it’s tied to ‘huge.’ They know ‘huge,’ but they didn’t know there was another word for it. Spellcheck and other things like that don’t encourage vocabulary building,’ Southern Hills third grade teacher Rickey Santellana said.

Along with the dictionaries, students enjoyed another surprise. The Neigh-Bear stopped by to help distribute their personal gifts.

‘It feels great because when you see kids eyes light up when getting a dictionary. Not all of them have a phone or computer at home so this is something they will have at all times,’ Morris said.

‘We will start to work on skills now; they have no excuse because they have their own in their possession. We will use it everyday,’ Santellana said.

This is the first time this State Farm agency has participated in the dictionary project, but it’s something they plan to continue.

This project could end up helping more than just students. Research shows one book is often shared by as many as four people. Which means a dictionary in the home serves as a resource for the entire family.