LYNN — More than 1,200 public school third-graders in Lynn were given dictionaries as gifts Wednesday by the Lynn Rotary Club as part of a project sponsored by Equitable Bank.
For the 11th year, the rotary club has distributed dictionaries to every third-grader in the system as one of its service projects. Former president Jim Harris helped get the project off the ground in 2008. A non-profit group called the Dictionary Project distributes the books. It was founded in 1995 in South Carolina with the intent of providing every third-grader in the state with dictionaries.
There are 18 public elementary schools in Lynn with more than 1,200 students. The books cost $3 apiece, Harris said, making the bill for the dictionaries somewhere in the vicinity of $3,500. Equitable, which has branches in Lynn, underwrites the cost. Although Lynn Rotary has had several sponsors, Equitable has been serving in that capacity the longest.
Patrick Tutwiler, superintendent of schools; Lynn Rotary president Brenda Peral; and principal Mary Dill were on hand at Connery School to help distribute the dictionaries.
Lynn Rotarians also participated in the distribution of the dictionaries at the Aborn, Brickett, Callahan, Cobbett, Drewicz, Fallon, Ford, Harrington, Hood, Ingalls, Lincoln-Thomson, Lynn Woods, Sewell-Anderson, Sisson, Shoemaker, Tracy and Washington schools as well.
Harris said that not every rotary club in the country participates in Dictionary Day, but said teaching children throughout the world to read and to use the dictionary is a major part of the organization’s mission.
Contained within the book is a standard dictionary geared for students from roughly the third to fifth grades. But there is so much more, Harris said.
“It’s a combination dictionary-encyclopedia,” said Harris, adding that covers history, civics, science, math and geography.
“It has biographies of all the presidents,” he said, “along with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, a periodic table of the elements, multiplication tables, demographics on states and other continents, and information on the planets.”
The book also contains information on the metric system and other weights and measures.
“It’s loaded with a ton of information,” he said. “And the kids really enjoy that. One of the things that really fascinates them is that it contains the longest word in the English language, which has 1,909 letters in it. It’s a chemical formula that has something like 267 amino acids in it.”
Harris stressed that dictionaries are gifts to the students, not the school system. There’s a spot on the cover of each dictionary for the students’ names, along with a rotary logo and the Equitable insignia.