1 in 7 US Adults are Illiterate – What are Rotarians doing to help?
In October, Maplewood and South Orange Rotarians completed their annual 3rd Grade Dictionary Project by giving a dictionary to every 3rd grader, nearly 600 students combined, in Maplewood and South Orange. Third-graders are selected to receive the books because their reading and writing skills typically improve and they begin learning how use reference materials at this level.
Maplewood Rotary Chairman John Mousseau notes, “This was the 11th year the Maplewood and South Orange Rotary Clubs have participated in the Dictionary Project. It originated in South Carolina as a tool to fight illiteracy, but has grown into a nationwide Rotary effort focused on giving dictionaries to each third-graders in both public and private schools. The schools are great partners and we always look forward to meeting the terrific students of the Maplewood-South Orange School District. The teachers are very welcoming and the children are enthusiastic. It is always one of the highlights of the year.”
In each SOMA school, either an assembly was held or Rotarians would visit each classroom. To engage young minds, each presentation began with a bit of word-play wherein Rotarians asked a student to pick a word, then ask which of their fellow students knew the meaning. Proof of the program’s power occurred this year when a Tuscan Elementary School staff member exclaimed, “My son still uses his Rotary dictionary and he’s in college!”
A USA TODAY article notes a 1 in 7 illiteracy rate http://usat.ly/R10Ea2. The Rotary Club’s dream is for every person in America, and the world, to be able to read and write. Although we cannot provide an education, we can provide the resource to help them – a dictionary!
A relevant question Rotarians face is, “Why, in this digital age with ready access to the Internet, do children need dictionaries?” In reality, adults often have 24/7 access to the Internet. Most third-graders in the area also have access to the Internet, but not anytime and anywhere. The paperback dictionary is often kept in a student's desk or backpack and is useful anytime and anyplace. Children can mark words as they look them up and see how quickly their vocabularies are growing as their dictionaries fill up with check marks. Unlike a digital dictionary, the paperback also leads to the fun of discovering new words on the page as they search.
Thank you for all your support! The Maplewood Christmas Tree Sale funds the local dictionary project for the Maplewood Rotary Club.
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About Maplewood Rotary Club
The Rotary Club is an International Organization comprised of community leaders around the globe and is most famous for nearly eradicating Polio. The Maplewood Rotary Club has been sharing their time, talents and resources to help make our community and the world a better place, since 1930.
Our next project, is the Annual “Affair of the Heart Gala” to be held at the Maplewood Country Club on April 19, 2013. If you are interested in learning more or donating an auction item, please contact Steve Gussen at email@example.comThe Maplewood Rotary Club is always looking for new members. It is a service club, nonreligious, nonpolitical and open to every one. We meet every Tuesday at 6:30pm at Cryan’s in South Orange. Anyone looking to find out more information, please come join us in January for a meeting or go to: www.maplewoodrc.org or visit us on Facebook “Maplewood Rotary Club