Dictionary Project Guide
The Dictionary Project is not about Rotary—it is about literacy. Rotarians are providing local community service through the funding and distribution of a dream: every third grader, every year, will receive a dictionary as a gift to use at school and at home for years to come.
Many teachers see this as a key to better reading, speech, and writing. These skills will improve student performance in other subjects as well.
Receiving the dictionaries from Rotary members is beneficial too. The young people meet successful adults in their community who care enough about them to purchase these dictionaries and come to their school to present them personally.
The brief explanation of Rotary service in the community and around the world gives students a lasting positive impression of Rotary and the ideal of service.
Rotary District 5100 is working toward the goal of having 100 percent club participation in the dictionary project. Working with other existing organizations, Rotarians will be able to ensure that every third grader in Oregon, and the Greater Clark County Area in Washington, over 40,000 students, will receive a dictionary.
- Consider applying for a District Simplified Grant
- Ask for corporate donations
- Ask other organizations in your community to co-sponsor the project
- Put on a fundraiser: The Salem clubs have a golf tournament in the summer which provides funding for all the dictionaries
- Donate Sergeant-at-Arms funds for a few weeks to the Dictionary Project
Gain knowledge and history by exploring the Dictionary Project website – here are a few pages:
- Insert bookplates — a party works well to do this.
- Solicit membership involvement for the presentation to students.
District 5100 Dictionary Project Suggested Timeline
May: Rotary clubs contact involved school district superintendents to obtain consent for participation, names of schools, school principals and teachers' names with contact information.
Decide whether to include the following categories in the distribution: blended (third and fourth grade) classrooms/private/ charter/home school where identifiable (usually through the ESD).
September: Contact participating elementary principals to confirm “final” class numbers by end of September. Ordering early allows the teachers and students to use the dictionaries in the classroom for the full year. Add extra copies to your count for new students – and the unexpected, such as dictionaries printed without all sections included.
Place Order: Dictionary Project. I strongly recommend purchasing “A Student’s Dictionary”. In addition to the dictionary, this book includes The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution, biographies of the US Presidents and the longest word.
Club members affix bookplates, insert bookmarks, arrange boxes of books by school and classroom. This is a great fellowship and service activity for the membership to do together. Example Bookplate(PDF)
Project chair: Schedule visits to each elementary in coordination with the principle and 3rd grade classroom teachers. Prepare distribution schedule. Solicit a minimum of 2 Rotarians per time slot to give 10-15 minute presentation/distribution of dictionaries.
Media alert!!! Don't forget to let the local press know about your good deed weeks in advance, so they can send a photographer. However, if you are going to take pictures yourself, ask permission first. Please respect privacy issues as set forth by school districts, as permission must be granted to either video or photograph students.