The St. Clairsville Rotary Club has been planting a seed of knowledge in third-grade classrooms across Belmont County for several years now, and the trend recently continued.
Each year, as part of the club’s literacy program and community service efforts, Rotarians purchase and distribute new dictionaries to every third-grade student in Belmont County. Whether the student goes to public school, private or parochial school, or if they are home schooled, the club makes an effort to get a dictionary in the hands of the students.
And the young students appreciate it.
"It is a wonderful, warming program," said Frank Fregiato, past president of the St. Clairsville Noon Rotary Club who helped spearhead the launch of the dictionary project during his presidency several years ago.
The program has been going strong each year for about eight years now. In fact, many of the students who received their dictionaries in third grade back when the program started are likely getting ready to head to college soon. Many of them may likely still have their dictionaries with them.
Club members enjoy participating in the dictionary distribution. The club has a "sticker party" every year in which they place a Rotary Club sticker on the books in which they distribute. Each year, the club gives out approximately 2,000 dictionaries. A handful of Rotary Club members bring the books to each school in Belmont County during the school year and give a short presentation before some of the classrooms before distributing the complementary dictionaries.
It’s an important part of the club’s community service program, and the students always seem thrilled to be getting their own books.
Fregiato has said its helps play a role in the students’ future. Many young children have books, but children’s books are not typically something they keep on their bookshelves into adulthood. A dictionary, however, is a reference manual that anyone can use – at any age.
The dictionaries distributed by the St. Clairsville Noon Rotary Club may very well be the first book that these young people keep in what will become their own home libraries – alongside other books they will keep for a lifetime.
These books distributed by the club are not only dictionaries, but are reference manuals that include a wealth of information. Inside, there are weights and measures tables, information on every nation in the world and all 50 states, a biography of all those who served as president of the United States, facts about the nine planets in the solar system, and text of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution.
There are also other fun facts, such as the longest word in the English language.
Teachers and parents have also expressed their appreciation for the club’s dictionary project.
Dictionaries are purchased through funds raised by the Rotary Club throughout the year. Events such as the Taste of the Valley and the club’s annual Spaghetti Dinner help fund this project and many others that support community programs, as well as other local, national and international projects.
Club members thank the public for continued support of Rotary fund raisers and community projects.