The Dictionary Project is a program that focuses on giving a dictionary to every third grader nationwide. Many Rotary clubs, as well as many other organizations, participate in the project nationwide. To date the Dictionary Project has provided 28 million dictionaries in the US and internationally.
The goal of the Dictionary Project is to have a positive impact on education in this country and empower children to become skillful communicators and resourceful learners. Our country and our world face many challenges. We need to prepare our young people to be strong, productive citizens who can succeed and grow and solve problems in a rapidly changing world. A pocket dictionary may be a small thing but it is a powerful tool to help with learning. As a gift from a child’s community our contribution of a dictionary not only becomes a learning tool for the child but also creates the experience of how the community can serve student development.
Rotary clubs began distributing dictionaries through the Dictionary Project in 2006. The Winchester Rotary Club received a Rotary district grant to get started and enlisted the help of the Frederick County Rotary club to help distribute dictionaries. Since that time, the two clubs purchase all the dictionaries and go to local elementary schools to distribute them.
Each dictionary has a book marker with the Rotary symbol and four-way test. As part of the presentation to students Rotarians often spend time in the classroom to discuss the meaning of the four-way test with the students and use words in the test, such as “beneficial”, to help students practice their dictionary skills.
Since 2006 the Winchester Rotary Club and the Frederick County Rotary Club have distributed 23,000 dictionaries to Winchester and Frederick County third grade students. During the most recent year, 2017, both clubs distributed 1,464 dictionaries to 19 schools.