`I hope this is very useful to you,` Ken Hines told students at Memorial Elementary School. `This isn`t a very old book, even though it has a lot of old words in it.`
The book was a dictionary members of the Garden City Kiwanis Club are delivering to third-graders in public and parochial schools in Garden City.
Hines was the pitch man for the deliveries, as Kiwanis President Peg Burklow and several other club members handed out the books. He talked students through the books, pointing out pages on the 44 U.S. presidents, the 50 states, a table of weights and measures and international maps.
`Someday you`ll sit down and read the dictionary,` he said. `It`s a short story with a lot of words.`
According to Burklow, this is the second year the club has distributed dictionaries. Last year, it was third-graders at the city`s five public schools, but this year it`s been expanded to include St. Raphael and United Christian schools.
`It lets people we beat up for peanut sales know that their dollars stay in the community,` Burklow said.
She told students that the dictionaries come with several restrictions: They must go to only third-graders and that each student must write their name on the name plate on one of the book`s front pages.
`It`s your book,` she said.
According to Kiwanis member Pete Tavormina, the organization took on the dictionary project `because it wants every child to learn how to read.`
`Every dictionary we buy, 95 percent of each dollar goes back into the dictionary program,` he said.
Eight-year-old Arianna made sure she followed Burklow`s direction and put her name in her dictionary. A third-grader at Memorial Elementary, she was glad to get one.
`I don`t have a dictionary, so how can I find out what words are,` she said. `I`m going to take this home tonight.`
The Kiwanis members stressed that reading is an important skill in each room they stopped in at Memorial. They also let students know they want them to use the book.
`Everything you need is at your fingertips, so make sure you put it in your backpack and carry it back and forth to school,` Hines said. `This is a very good learning tool. I want to come back at the end of the year and see the cover all wrinkled, the pages blackened on the edges and dog-eared from using them.`
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