Rotary delivers dictionaries to schoolchildren

In 2004, the Rotary Club of Knoxville had a vision to supply dictionaries to all Marion County children in grades three or four, that aligned with Rotary International’s Global Literacy Initiative.

When discussing the project with the schools, Pleasantville asked the local Lions Club to lead this effort. Because there is a Rotary Club of Pella, Knoxville decided to focus efforts in Knoxville, Twin Cedars, and Melcher-Dallas school districts.

Distribution of dictionaries started in Savannah, Ga., in 1992 when Annie Plummer gave 50 dictionaries to a school in her local area. Since Ms. Plummer’s initial distribution of 50 dictionaries, The Dictionary Project became a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit in 1995 and over 18 million dictionaries have been distributed in the USA.

Many clubs have taken on this project and Rotary Club of Knoxville has delivered 2,616 dictionaries since 2005 to the three schools, led by Gary Anderson. Each year, Anderson asks the teachers if paper-bound dictionaries are still necessary and they have resounded with “YES”.

Each Knoxville 4th grader and each 3rd grader in Twin Cedars and Melcher-Dallas receive a personalized dictionary. Rotary Club members joined Anderson in putting the personalized labels in each dictionary and distributing them in Knoxville. This year three previous recipients of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA), Cade McNeil, Quinlan Robuck, and Trevor Poundstone assisted in distributing the dictionaries in Twin Cedars and Melcher-Dallas.

The three students remembered receiving their dictionary. We hope parents encourage and participate in the use of the dictionaries with their children.