Local students receive free dictionaries

 `I like the Valley Grange because it was old in a new way,`

third grader McKenna wrote after her recent field trip. McKenna was one of over a hundred area students who recently visited Valley Grange in Guilford as part of the Grange`s program to provide personal dictionaries to third graders. For the students from SeDoMoCha it was their third year receiving dictionaries, but the first time they ventured to the Grange Hall. Guilford Primary School students attended a similar program sponsored jointly by Valley Grange and South Sangerville Grange. This was the sixth year GPS students received dictionaries and their third trip to the Grange.

All the students received a short history lesson featuring Civil War Re-enactor Eric Boothroyd. `Sergeant Boothroyd` explained various parts of his uniform and answered the students many questions. Many of those questions reflected not only their curiosity (`How far apart were the north and the south?`) but also their powers of observation (`What`s that big medal circle on your belt?)

Noting that the Grange got started as an organization shortly after the Civil War, Valley`s Program Director Walter Boomsma explained some of the farmer`s tools now used in Grange Meetings to remind members of their agricultural heritage. `The Grange is mostly about people helping each other,` Boomsma pointed out. `At first it was mostly farmers, but now there are all sorts of people involved.`

During the presentations, students discovered the words `patron` and

`husbandry`– words that were unfamiliar to them. Grangers passed out dictionaries and the room filled with energy as the students learned that a patron gives generous support and husbandry involves the wise use of resources. `Words that are very important to Grangers,` Boomsma explained, `because we are also called `Patrons of Husbandry.“

Students also received a demonstration of the staffs used by the Grange and their significance in agriculture. The staffs include the spud used to eradicate weeds, the shepherd`s crook used to lead the sheep, the pruning hook used to cut out bad branches, and the `owl` who is `always watching.`

The Words for Thirds program is part of The Dictionary Project, which is based in South Carolina and makes low-cost dictionaries available to organizations like the Grange to aid third grade teachers in their goal to see all their students leave at the end of the year as good writers, active readers, and creative thinkers. Local Grangers have been purchasing and distributing dictionaries since 2004.

Valley Grange Master/President Jim Annis noted that the program has truly `electrified` the local Grange. `We`re now involved with the local schools and children in a number of meaningful ways. We have `bookworms` visiting Guilford Primary School every week and regular partner in other activities in our schools and communities. It`s especially great to hear our Grange Hall ring with the laughter and excitement of children.`

Extra dictionaries are always available for new or home-schooled students or students transferring in during the school year. Parents of home-schooled third graders are urged to call their local school for additional information. For information about the Grange and its many community service opportunities, call Walter Boomsma at 876-4131 or Mary Annis at 564-0820.


Following are some of the thank-you letters the Grange received from the children (unedited):


Thank so very much for our lovely dictionary. The visit was very fun. I learned a lot of stuff about the Civil War. When I got home my Mom was very blown away she liked the dictionary. Over the weekend I looked up a lot of words like mahogany. It is a strong reddish brown wood that is used for furniture and obtained from several tropical trees. Well I hope you see how much I enjoyed the dictionary and for coming to Valley Grange.

Your good friend,



Thank you for the dictionary and teaching us about the hook and the sheep getter thing and about the states of the world and the words.

By Cameron


Thank you so much for the great dictionary they are awesome. My brother likes it too he can`t wait until he gets one next year. Did I mention my baby brother loves it too he like when I read the words to him and when I show him the maps. Thank you again for the dictionary.

Your friend,



Thank you for the lovely dictionarys. I looked in it all weekend. There is a lot of good words in it. It is very good for all the storys I right and trust me I right a lot. When I grow up I might be a Valley Granger just like you. I forgot to mention I love the owl that is cool. All the tools the farmers use are very cool. The hook is very good for someone that is very old. Because all they have to do is reach there arm out. I love how you take good care of the earth.

Your friend,