2017-10-26 / Front Page

Kiwanis Club presents dictionaries to all third graders

Addison Turner gratefully accepts her gift from Kiwanian John Webster, one of more than a half-dozen club members who presented personalized student dictionaries to third-graders at Washington-Wilkes Primary School recently. Each October – for more than a decade – Washington Kiwanians have distributed student dictionaries to the third grade class at the school. These books are a valuable resource for students – often through high school – and help fulfill the Kiwanis mission to improve the lives of children in local communities.

The October date commemorates the birthday of Noah Webster (October 16, 1758), a pioneer in education and author of the first comprehensive American dictionary. The project is supported the Kiwanis satellite club, with Kiwanian and Mary Willis Library Director Lillie Crowe handling preparation of the books for distribution.

Since its inception as the Dictionary Project in 1995 by Mary and Arno French of Charleston, S.C., millions of children have received dictionaries because the organization recognized a need in communities around the United States. The original goal set by the organization was to provide dictionaries to all thirdgrade students in South Carolina every year, a goal achieved in 1999. After a March 2002 Wall Street Journal story about the project, the Dictionary Project expanded its mission to include students across North America. Since 1995, more than 29 million dictionaries have been distributed to third-graders in the United States and Canada by Kiwanis Clubs and other service organizations.

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