What is black and white and “read” all over? Dictionaries!
A total of 52 local third-graders received Merriam-Webster dictionaries this month in the Words for Thirds program, the books donated by members of the Mt.Vernon Grange and American Legion Auxiliary Ellis Tracy Unit 77.
Students from Humbolt Elementary in Canyon City were gifted the books Oct. 1, and elementary students from Long Creek, Monument and Dayville received their books on Oct. 8. Third-graders at Seneca School had books delivered, and area homeschool students also received the dictionaries at the Grant County Education Service District in John Day.
Grange member Jo Stiner, who is a retired Humbolt Elementary administrative assistant, said she and the other volunteers asked the third-grade teachers if dictionaries are still needed, since technology is readily available.
All concluded that it’s important students know how to use a dictionary, Stiner said, adding that several children don’t have access to a computer at home. The books are also kept in the students’ desks at school for classroom assignments.
Stiner and grange treasurer Mary Ellen Brooks, grange secretary Frances Preston and auxiliary member Joyce Nodine all helped distribute the dictionaries.
Costs for the books are split between the grange and auxiliary.
Prairie City students also receive dictionaries through their local American Legion Auxiliary.
The goal is to increase children’s literacy with an opportunity for greater success in education and life.
“Every third-grader in the county is able to receive a dictionary,” Brooks said, adding it’s an expensive but important project. “At the end of the year they can take them home. It’s been going for quite a while.”
Three days after receiving her dictionary, a third-grade girl ran up to Nodine while she was at a dinner and said, ‘I know you. You gave me a dictionary!’”
“The kids were so excited, and they really appreciated it,” Stiner said. “The third-graders are so respectful. That kind of makes it all worthwhile.”