By Carolyn Marnon – For the 17th year, the Wayne Michigan Rotary Club is embarking on their annual dictionary project, the “Gift of Words.” After the dictionaries are presented this month, over 5000 3rd graders who attended a public or private school located within the City of Wayne will have benefited from this generous donation.
According to a press release, “In 2005 Rotarian Nate Weiser, of the Wayne Michigan Rotary Club, came across a Rotary project to provide dictionaries to 3rd grade students. The project had begun with a California Rotary Club in 1999 and had spread across the country. Nate saw the value in providing a dictionary as a resource to students – he called it the ‘Gift of Words’.”
“In the 2005/06 school year the project was approved as a perpetual, on-going project to provide dictionaries to all 3rd grade students attending a public or private school located in the City of Wayne.”
“This represents a $50,000 investment in actual cost or $100,000 in value in the education of students in the City of Wayne.”
“Each year Rotarians from the Wayne Club go to the schools, inscribe each student’s name on the dictionary’s bookplate and present the dictionaries to the students. We include with the dictionary a bookmark with the ‘4 Way Test of the things we think, say, or do’ and a letter explaining the program.”
“Often when we distribute the books students tell us of an older sibling who was given a book and how excited they are to now have their own. Teachers tell us what a valuable resource this is to the students in their classroom. We have had the pleasure of watching students’ eyes light up as they page through the book, discovering new words and their meanings.”
Because of COVID-19 and virtual learning, last years 3rd graders did not receive a dictionary. As 4th graders, they will receive their books with this year’s distribution.
Rotary members generally go into the classrooms and put the children’s names on the bookplate at the front of the books. Because COVID is still prevalent, the books are being delivered to the schools involved (Taft, Roosevelt-McGrath, Schweit-zer, St. Michael’s, and St. Joseph Catholic) whereby the teachers will distribute the books to their 3rd grade students.
The dictionary is the MacMillan for Children Dictionary. At 832 pages, the dictionary also provides beautiful photos and illustrations for students to learn by.
Wayne Rotary Chairperson of the dictionary project, Cynthia Schofield, said “Rotary works with education and literacy, so this really works with what Rotary promotes.” The Wayne Rotary is celebrating their 100th year in Wayne.