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WHO:   The Rotary Club of San Bernardino donates dictionaries to every third grade student in the San Bernardino City Unified School District area including charter schools.
WHAT:   Individual Rotary members give a dictionary to each student.  Members tell the students that book belongs to them and using a dictionary can help them read better and complete their assignments.  Good readers become better citizens.
WHERE:   Rotarians deliver the dictionaries to each of the elementary schools.
WHEN:   Rotary International has declared that Literacy is major goal and has declared that March is Literacy Month.
WHY:   Very little research has been done on how owning or using a dictionary directly impacts a child's learning.  It is clear though that a dictionary is an essential tool in helping kids learn to read.
According to the many researchers, students who do not read fluently by the end of the third grade have only a minimal chance of reading successfully without special help.  Teachers try very hard in the classrooms and more support is needed to get kids to read successfully.  It is clear to other researchers that there is a need to encourage and enable parents, families and caregivers to play indispensable roles as co producers of good outcomes for their children.  Parents should read to students, support learning, and encourage their children to read at home.  (Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters: A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The California State Department of Education publishes the Reading/Language Arts Framework synthesizes much recent research and this document establishes the plans, goals and student standards for K-12 public schools.  In it, the concept of vocabulary development is stated as an essential part of learning to read.  Beginning in grade two and continuing through the grades, dictionaries are mentioned as a valuable resource for students for learning vocabulary and word learning strategies.  In fact, students must know how to use a dictionary to meet one of the specific reading standards.  The Framework also mentions a goal of that when parents, siblings, and community members can provide extended learning experiences, students benefit.  If students have their own dictionaries at home, students can practice learning more words and benefit from parents helping them use the dictionaries.  (
The Rotary Club of San Bernardino wants to encourage the children to become better readers because this will help them to reach their goals as adults. At the same time, the club wants to give the children a powerful tool to help with their school work when they give them their dictionaries. These presentations also provide an unspoken message: ‘We support your education and we want to see you succeed.’