Alhambra/San Gabriel and Duarte Elks Clubs Distribute Over 800 Free Dictionaries

Article written by Michele Earle, Mid Valley News

Third grade students in Mountain View School District’s (MVSD) 10 elementary schools are grateful to the Alhambra/San Gabriel and Duarte Elks Clubs for their kindness and generosity in presenting each of them with a free dictionary.

The Elks distributed over 800 dictionaries in MVSD as part of the Elks’ nationwide Dictionary Project. In total over 4,000 dictionaries were given to third graders in San Gabriel Valley area school districts by the two local clubs. Since its implementation in 1995, The Dictionary Project has put over 21 million dictionaries in the hands of students world-wide. The project’s goal is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries given to MVSD’s students were personalized with each student’s name and delivered by members of the Duarte Elks Club No. 1427 including John McEntire, Jim Rentschler, Anne Garner, George Van Hove, Randy Smith and Donna McEntire who were accompanied by Elroy the very popular Elk puppet.

“The Elks value education and we are very happy to give back to our community and support students with their educational endeavors,” said Donna McEntire, Elks member and retired MVSD teacher. “We’ve been delivering dictionaries to Mountain View’s third graders for seven years and we are happy to provide such a great learning tool for you to use at home and at school.”

At Cogswell School students were thrilled to receive the dictionary, which is packed full of great resources.

“This dictionary is a wonderful resource book full of information to help you learn,” said McEntire. “It has information on our 50 states, maps of continents and countries, a list of all U.S. presidents, a multiplication table, information on the planets and solar system, the Periodic Table of Elements and even shows you how to do sign language. We want you to be lifelong learners and use this dictionary to keep learning.”

McEntire shared that there are over 35,000 words in the dictionary and by using the dictionary students can improve their vocabulary and find powerful words, learn definitions, and the parts of speech.

“Five of the largest words in the English language are in this dictionary,” she said. “There are words with 48 letters in them and the longest word takes up an entire page and has 1,909 letters. Let’s hope that word is never on a spelling test,” she said laughing as the students gasped at the word’s length.

In addition to the students, the teachers and administrators were thrilled with the generous donation and know the dictionaries will make a great impact and be an essential tool for the students.

“We greatly appreciate the Elks Club coming year after year with such a tremendous gift for our students,” said Delia Garcia, third grade teacher. “The dictionaries will definitely impact their vocabulary and be a wonderful resource for them.”

Diana Calix, a Cogswell third grader was so excited with her dictionary, she proudly stated that she was going to read it the whole night. Her classmate, Natalia Garcia liked the dictionary too, and couldn’t decide which part of the book was her favorite.

“I like all the different parts,” she said. “There are so many new words I can learn and I can read about the planets and learn the names of other countries. It’s really great.”

Teacher, Kimberly Jenkins was happy to see her students so excited about the dictionaries.

“This provides the kids with a sense of ownership and each year they are very happy to get them. It will be a great help in the classroom and at home as they develop their vocabulary.”
Maxson School principal, Dr. Aileen La Corte was very thankful for the Elks’ generous donation.

“The Elks Club provides a lot of love and support to the communities and it is truly a wonderful organization,” said Dr. La Corte. “The dictionaries are a great gift for our third graders and we are so appreciative of the kindness and generosity shown to us by the Elks Club year after year.”

Third grade is the perfect grade level for giving dictionaries because this is the grade in which dictionary skills are taught in most schools. Additionally, third grade represents a critical juncture in a child’s education, it is the year a student makes the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

“The Common Core standards for third grade state that students can use both an electronic and printed version of the dictionary, so these dictionaries will be useful when the yearly state testing comes around,” said McEntire.

Eager to look up site words, learn new words and their definitions and explore the resource sections of their new dictionary, the students excitedly flipped through the pages.
Jonathan Reyes was beaming with pride as he received his new dictionary and is looking forward to using it to help him learn more. “I will use this book a lot,” he said. “It was really nice of the Elks Club to bring us the dictionaries. I think we all will learn better now that we have them.”

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