Dictionary Project puts words into the hands of students

In the quest for lifelong learning, a dictionary is one of the most powerful tools a child can own. And thanks to a local service organization, every Rio Rancho Public Schools third grader will have their very own student dictionary.

Since 2005, Rio Rancho Elks Lodge #2500 in partnership with The Dictionary Project has presented student dictionaries to third graders in Rio Rancho. At each elementary school the presentation is accompanied by an assembly where Elks members explain why dictionaries are an important tool that will help students throughout their lives. The first of this years’ presentations will be on Tuesday, October 4, at 8:00 AM at Colinas del Norte Elementary School, 1001 23rd Ave. NE, and at 9:30 AM at Enchanted Hills Elementary School, 5400 Obregon Rd. NE.

The Dictionary Project, a non-profit organization founded by Mary French more than 15 years ago in Charleston, SC, has donated millions of dictionaries nationwide to students in their communities. The dictionaries are a gift for each student to use at school and at home for years to come.

The Dictionary Project’s goal is to assist all students to complete the school year as good writers, active readers, and creative thinkers through the use of the dictionary. Dictionaries are a research tool that helps students solve problems and become self-reliant learners.

Elks Lodge #2500 began the project in 2005 with donations to third graders in just one elementary school. Through the generosity of local residents, for the past several years the Elks have been able to provide dictionaries for third graders at all ten Rio Rancho elementary schools. If the Elks had more funding, elementary schools in other Sandoval County communities would be included in the project.

The public can donate by sending a check to BPOE #2500, P.O. Box 15052, Rio Rancho, NM. 87174 — please write “Dictionary Project” on the memo line of the check. Organizations wishing to “adopt” schools, or those needing further information, should contact Liz Maes, Secretary of Elks Lodge #2500, at 892-1920.