In 1995, The Dictionary Project was founded for the simple purpose of providing every 3rd grade student with their own dictionary. Since that time, over 14.5 million dictionaries have been purchased and donated to schools throughout the U.S. by service clubs, individuals, religious groups, families and political groups. Everyone agrees that students cannot do their best work without a dictionary.
This project was brought to the attention of District 5230 Rotary Clubs in about 2003. Each year since then, members of the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove have visited both local elementary schools to give every 3rd grade student of Pacific Grove Unified School District their personal copy of A Student’s Dictionary.
The books are ordered in the summer, as soon as it is known how many 3rd grade students will be enrolled. Then in September or early October the Club President and other members visit both Robert Down and Forest Grove Elementary Schools to personally deliver the books. The Dictionary Project has always emphasized the importance of giving children reference books that they can keep as their own – we stress that these books are theirs to use throughout the year and theirs to keep for use at home.
We have often used this brief visit to the schools to educate students about Rotary, and it has become a tradition for us to distribute an individual bookmark with each book. Generally the bookmarks are printed with The Four Way Test:
The Four-Way Test
Of the things we say or do …
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
By donating these reference books to student in the district, it is our wish that by providing this valuable resource, we may help to improve the education and the lives of the students and their families.
(It is estimated that there are about 470,000 third graders enrolled in public schools in California. The Dictionary Project has reached over 225,000 of them. If you would like to help provide dictionaries to more students in California, or other states, please visit www.dictionaryproject.org.)