Rotary delivers dictionary donations
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 8, 2009 1:46 PM
Julie Daniels of the Goldsboro Rotary Club hands Daniel Flores a dictionary Wednesday morning at Eastern Wayne Elementary School. More than 1,900 Wayne County students received their own dictionaries.
Students at Eastern Wayne Elementary School have been studying about organization within communities and the importance of volunteers.
So when Goldsboro Rotary Club members showed up on Wednesday distributing dictionaries to third-graders, it gave them yet another way to understand the definition of generosity.
"Would you consider yourself a volunteer?" asked Virginia Harris, a third-grade teacher visited by a team from the club.
"Yes," answered Julie Daniels, club member along with Jamie Capps, assigned to deliver books to the six third-grade classes at the school.
"Remember, we talked about volunteering in the community," Mrs. Harris told her class. "Now you get to see for yourself firsthand. We just had a lesson on dictionaries Monday."
The annual "dictionary project" is just one of the efforts the civics group does, Mrs. Daniels told the class.
"We understand the importance of reading and learning to read in your schoolwork so that you can grow to be a success in the business that you go into," she said.
"These are really special dictionaries, because you get to keep them," said Heather Holzworth, assistant principal at Eastern Wayne Elementary. She explained that while the softback books were brand new, the teachers would gladly help students break them in.
"My daughter got one in third grade," said one of the third-grade teachers, Dawn Clark. "She is now in high school and she still uses it."
Students in Star Hollo-man's class were also excited about the surprise gift.
"32,000 pages," said Corinthius Giles, who previously had a smaller version in his binder. "I thought that there was going to be like 200 pages, but there were way more pages than that."
He said he looks forward to delving further into his new book.
"It will help me learn and help me understand words that I don't know," he said.
Classmate Kevin Hall said he had glanced through his copy.
"I looked up something about land," he said. "I love reading. I might use it to help me with reading and some stuff I don't know."
Student Tessa Steele's family has a dictionary at home but it's "this tall, thick book," she said, gesturing with her hands about its bulkier size.
"With this one, I can actually carry it around and not have to hold it on my arm, making it very easy," she said. "I think I'm going to like looking up words that I don't know how to look up in an ordinary dictionary."
She had already flipped through the pages to see what it contained, she said.
"I opened it and saw 'jungle' -- there are 5,000 trees in the jungle," she learned.
Rotary Club members have been participating in the project since 2002.
Begun in Georgia nearly a decade before that, the effort has grown to include the entire U.S. and 15 countries. Since 1995, more than 9.8 million dictionaries have been handed out to third-grade students.
In Wayne County, Mrs. Daniels said, teams delivered 1,900 dictionaries to 15 public schools, seven private schools, Dillard Charter school and homeschools.
"We take the time to present the dictionaries to the students and tell them the importance of reading and literacy to their future," she said. "We also discuss with them the importance of being a supporter of their communities as we are through Rotary and finally, review with them the Four-Way Test of Rotary that has been included in the cover of each book."
The Four-Way Test contains four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it bring goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
"Each year this project is such a blessing to all of us in Rotary," Mrs. Daniels said. "The excitement that these third-graders have about receiving their very own dictionary is priceless."