The Rewards of Distributing Dictionaries

You’ve heard of The Dictionary Project and its mission to distribute dictionaries to all third graders.  But now you wonder how it all works.  Well you will be glad to know that The Dictionary Project provides Sponsor Resources that takes away the guesswork..  Included in the Resources are letters of explanation for the schools and parents, book-plate labels, a How-To Manual, a PR Kit and many presentation ideas.  They also provide a variety of dictionaries, thesaurus and other reference books including a Sampler Kit you can order.

It is important to understand that the sponsor (either an individual or an organization) makes a monetary donation to The Dictionary Project and volunteers to distribute the dictionaries to the students as a gift.  The Dictionary Project does not sell dictionaries.  Click here to read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Why 3rd graders?  The teachers I’ve spoken with tell us that third grade is where students start to learn how to use resources (like dictionaries) and begin writing friendly letters.  It’s a perfect time for a child to get a gift that will last a lifetime.  As The Dictionary Project puts it:  3rd grade is where students move from learning to read to reading to learn.

Consider where you will give the dictionaries – students in public and private schools benefit greatly from the gift of a dictionary but there are other opportunities.  Community cennters,  non-traditional schools, YMCA’s, homework help/mentoring organizations are just a few places to think about.  Home-schooled students can also benefit from a dictionary. Many home-schooled children register through the local school but when you are ready to distribute look for a place where they can gather together.

Education level and social status are not true indicators that a family has its own dictionary or other reference material.  And in many cases children in a family do not have their own dictionary.

The children are very appreciative of this gift.  Thank you letters are poignant, funny, inspiring.  My favorite was the little girl I saw kiss her dictionary.  I keep that close to my heart.

A child with a dictionary has the key to imagination, creativity and communication.   This builds self-worth, self-confidence and self-respect.

So get involved – it’s easy and the rewards are incredible.



Filed under Doing Good

4 responses to “The Rewards of Distributing Dictionaries

  1. Thanks for your continued support, Pepi! We’ve added links to your post on our website and our Facebook page. —Sarah H., The Dictionary Project

  2. Pam T

    Pepi – when our Rotary club began the Dictionary Project I though it was a nice concept, but really could not fathom a household not having a dictionary. It was really an eye opening experience to see these kids in ‘Christmas morning mode’ when receiving these small gifts. To watch them looking up words with excitement to see who could find the ‘most interesting word’ while not even realizing that they were learning. It was really moving. It taught me that more often than not, it is a gift or gesture that seems so insignificant to the giver, that can have an incredible impact of the receiver.
    Perhaps we should all focus more on the little things in life, giving just a little of ourselves, to help another. We cannot truly fathom what the emotional returns are until we have experienced it.
    I commend you for the amazing gifts of literacy you have given to so many. You inspire me daily.

    • Thanks Pam – if we all just did one small thing each day we would be amazed. Everything you do every day from your family to your commitment to your community make such a difference.

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