The Woman Who Distributed 25 Million Dictionaries Still Looking To Give More

Mary French is a on a crusade to improve literacy around the world. Partnering with organizations like Rotary International for help, Mary French has collected and distributed 25 million dictionaries, mostly to third graders in every state in the U.S. and in other countries around the world.

“The problem is that children do not have access to dictionaries with more than 32,000 words in school. In order to be functionally literate a person must know more than 5,000 words to be able to read instructions or hear them and understand them to complete a task,” Mary explains, adding, “A dictionary is a reliable resource that makes a person self-reliant and able to think independently.”

Mary is making remarkable progress with the Dictionary Project. She notes, “To solve the problem of illiteracy we partner with people who want to put dictionaries into the hands of students where they live by giving them their own personal dictionary. Since the project began we have donated over 25,000,000 dictionaries to people in all fifty states and around the world.”

Mary has a remarkable vision of the future she’d like to create. “We would like to have more people involved to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary so that they will be able to use the English language effectively. To solve the problem of illiteracy in every community children need to be encouraged to spend more time reading and less time watching television. By learning new words people are able to form associations with other people and create more connections to enrich their lives and make this country a better place to live for all.”

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Mary will join me for a live discussion about her inspiring work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe. Your Mark on the World.