One third grader, one dictionary

Every third grader in Clarendon County now has the opportunity to improve their reading and writing skills thanks to the efforts of the Manning and Summerton Rotary Clubs, as well as the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers’ sorority.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, third graders in every school across the county received a free student dictionary for their personal use. The tradition is a nationwide effort that the Rotary Clubs and the local Delta Kappa Gamma chapter participate in every year, called The Dictionary Project. In the last 20 years, more than 17 million children across the U.S. have benefited from this project, through civic organizations, businesses and individuals.

Locally, the project began with Manning Rotary in the mid-1990s, according to Paul Floyd, one of the first committee chairs. Sue Jordan, past-president of Delta Kappa Gamma, said that the sorority has been working with Manning Rotary since the project first began. This year, hundreds of dictionaries were given out to students and their teachers at Manning Primary School, Walker-Gamble Elementary School, St. Paul Elementary School, Laurence Manning Academy and Clarendon Hall.

The dictionary includes the longest word in the English language, as well as Braille and  sign language alphabets, information on every state, a map and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Manning Rotary Club President Amy Land said, “The project is important to help build on the education students receive in the schools.”

“Education is very important. Without it, it is very difficult to be successful,” Land said.

Summerton Rotary President Bea Rivers said, “To many of the students, it could be the first book they ever received as their very own.”

“Every child should have their own dictionary to use," Rivers said. "It is the perfect accompaniment to the knowledge they get in the schools.”

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