Rotary Clubs hand out dictionaries to Aiken Co. 3rd graders

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012

NEW ELLENTON, S.C. -- Over 2,000 third graders in Aiken County have a new dictionary this morning. Rotary Clubs traveled to schools all over the county to hand them out.

Rotary Clubs all over the nation hand out dictionaries each year. This is the 10th year they are giving them out in our area, and they say for some kids, this may be the first book they've ever owned.

"One of the students said, 'Oh, my sister has one of these,' and for some of our children, it's the only book they have in their home that's just their own book," said Aiken County Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt.

Excitement filled the library at Greendale Elementary as Rotary Club members handed each child a brand new dictionary.

"Dictionaries, I kind of think of them as portable computers without batteries," said John Walker with Aiken Sunrise Rotary.

Rotary Clubs nationwide hand out the dictionaries to third grade students each year.

"Third grade is a pivotal year," Walker said. "That's the year the kids start looking outside themselves, joining clubs and groups and seeing a little bit more about the world beyond their families looking into their schools and their community."

Everitt says it's more than just a dictionary.

"It has all different kinds of facts so they have all kinds of things. Maps and things about math, and it really is an exciting thing for them to have," she said.

It's those extra facts that the students love.

"I'm grateful to have it because it's like you can look in the back of the dictionary you'll learn sign language," said third grader Jayla Valentine.

Sign language and a few other interesting facts.

"The biggest number in the dictionary is Google," Valentine said.

With more and more technology, the feeling of holding a book is something these kids don't get as often.

"Some people say they want technology," Everitt said. "Watch them. They want to hold that book."

The lessons they learn from this experience are more important than just those found in the dictionary.

"It's really important that the students see community members giving back to the community, so it's really a win-win for everyone," Everitt said.

The Rotary Clubs in Aiken County have given out around 25,000 dictionaries over the past 10 years.

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