Thousands of Dictionaries Donated to Third Graders

- HAGERSTOWN, Md. - More than 2,000 dictionaries are going to third graders across Washington County in hopes that each student learns how to read and expands their vocabulary.

"I feel excited because if there are words I don't know I can just look it up," said Bryce Milburn, third grader at Paramount Elementary School.

"It has new words for me to learn, and like if I can learn them I can probably do better in my school and my class," said Dylan Freet, third grader at Paramount Elementary School.

The annual tradition is a collaboration between all five Washington County Rotary Clubs.

"We think it's an important learning tool even though electronic media is being used these days the paper dictionary is still a very viable learning tool," said Mike Johnston, President of the Hagerstown Rotary Club.

Rotary members say the goal is helping all students become good writers and active readers.

"I think any tools that you can give them that are extra will benefit them in the long run," said Laureen Valentine, Co-Chairmen for the annual dictionary project. "And I like to challenge the kids in learning a new word everyday, practice using it in their speech, homework, class assignments."

They believe 3rd grade is the turning point when reading becomes learning.

"You're learning to read earlier and then you read to learn. And the dictionary provides that opportunity for them to use words," said Valentine.

For the next two weeks, members of the five Washington County Rotary Clubs will deliver dictionaries to third graders in all county schools, both public and private.

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