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Rotary Club provides dictionaries to every third-grade student

photo of students

At right, Rotarians Kathy Grasmeder and Bryan Blagioli deliver new dictionaries to students in Amanda Simmes' class at Big Cross.

October 21, 2016 — Former Superintendent Tom McGowan was back in a Glens Falls classroom this month, giving a mini-lesson to third graders who had just received their very own dictionaries.

“Who can find the word ‘allegiance,’” Mr. McGowan asked, as students began flipping through their books to find the full definition of the word they say every morning with a hand over their hearts.

photo of studentsMr. McGowan wore two hats during his visit—educator and volunteer—as he was part of the group of Rotarians delivering about 50 dictionaries to two third-grade classes at Jackson Heights. Rotary volunteers also brought dictionaries to Big Cross and Kensington students, with Glens Falls receiving nearly 150 donated dictionaries in total.

Several teams of Rotary volunteers are distributing dictionaries and interacting with students at schools around the region, as part of the group’s international project to promote literacy. Nearly 500 dictionaries are given out community-wide as part of the Dictionary Project, which is now in its ninth year.

photo of students and staff

Former Superintendent Tom McGowan leads a third-grade class in looking up the word "allegiance."

"A dictionary is perhaps the most powerful reference tool that a child can use," the Glens Falls Rotary Club website states. "It helps them with spelling, pronunciation and definitions as well as the development of reading, writing and creative thinking skills. Students benefit from an increased self-reliance and resourcefulness inspired by the maxim 'look it up.'"

"Our district is very appreciative of the Glens Falls Rotary Club and their commitment to our students," said Kensington Principal Jennifer Hayes. "We look forward to the dictionary project each year. The students love the dictionaries and enjoy working with the volunteers."

The Glens Falls Rotary Club has about 150 members who volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary’s motto: “Service Above Self.”