Kingsburg Rotary provides dictionaries to third graders

The Rotary Club of Kingsburg donated more than 300 dictionaries to local third graders recently as part of a program designed to help third grade teachers accomplish the goal of seeing all of their students leave at the end of the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers. The Dictionary Project is a program that began in Charleston, S.C., in 1995 with the goal of providing dictionaries to third graders in the Charleston area. The project has since expanded to all 50 states and several foreign countries, and has been adopted by civic organizations like the Rotary Clubs. The Rotary Club of Kingsburg has been distributing the dictionaries since 2007. Project manager Steve Wiest says that teachers recognize the value of the project, and when they learn the number of students in their class for the year, they quickly pass the information on to the Rotarians. “They want [the dictionaries] as soon in the school year as possible,” said Wiest. “As soon as they get a count, they let us know.” A total of 360 dictionaries were handed out to four elementary schools in the Kingsburg area this year: Traver, Clay, Kings River and Lincoln. Students are allowed to keep their dictionaries, so they can use them in fourth grade as well as throughout their school experience. Dictionaries allow students to be self-reliant and resourceful, and teachers benefit from knowing that their students have access to this useful learning tool. “The teachers and administrators appreciate any help we can give them,” said Kingsburg Rotary Vice President Shannon Guss, who has a niece in third grade. “It takes it off their shoulders.” Wiest delivered dictionaries to Traver Elementary on the afternoon of Aug. 28. “There was a boy in the office, and he said, ‘Third graders?’” said Wiest, who then determined that the student was in third grade. “He was all excited.”