Rotary Club donates dictionaries

 With its most recent distribution, the Housatonic Valley Rotary Club has provided more than a combined 1,500 dictionaries to third-grade students at three Brookfield schools over the last six years.

“The teachers love them,” said Jim Fisher, a former president of the Brookfield Rotary Club, which was recently converted into the Housatonic Valley Rotary Club, District 7980 Greater Danbury.

He serves as an honorary member of that club, which includes members from Brookfield and Danbury and holds regular meetings Monday nights at Pasta Garden on Federal Road.

Mr. Fisher distributed part of the most recent installment of dictionaries Dec. 23 during a brief assembly in the HHES gymnasium and also was giving them to third graders at Christian Life Academy and St. Joseph School in Brookfield.

Mr. Fisher said more than 200 dictionaries would be distributed this year by the local Rotary Club, which through the years paid for most of them through some of the proceeds from its annual Fun Bowl that is held each March at the Brookfield Lanes.

“It’s a good tool at this age to help them learn,” HHES Principal Mary Rose Dymond said in an interview after the ceremony.

“The teachers and the parents say that they use them regularly,” she said.

Mrs. Dymond said they are helpful with classroom writing assignments and with preparation for the Connecticut Mastery Test, which is administered each March.

Mr. Fisher recalled that he started delivering the dictionaries in 2005 when his daughter, Jillian, who is now in eighth grade, was a third-grade student at HHES.

“I think, in general, it’s good for kids to have a dictionary to use to help them with spelling,” he said.

Mr. Fisher said the dictionaries, which are purchased through The Dictionary Project, are designed for elementary school students, although they can be useful to students at all levels.

He said that libraries and civic groups also distribute them to schools.

Mr. Fisher said reports indicate that 29,950 of the dictionaries will be given to students in Connecticut this year and 32,623 were contributed last year.

A news release from The Dictionary Project stated that it began in 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Ga., gave 50 dictionaries to children who attended a school close to her home. Over the years she raised enough money to “buy 17,000 dictionaries for children in Savannah.”

Other people learned about the project, and Mary French of South Carolina and her husband, Arno, formed a nonprofit association in 1995.

The news release stated that since its implementation, The Dictionary Project has provided more than 14 million dictionaries worldwide.