At a time when technology has unlocked all accessibility to information, there is still nothing like a classic dictionary. Thick and packed with information from A to Z, a dictionary can answer questions, increase curiosity and foster literacy in any young reader.
And that's precisely why the San Carlos Rotary Club is for its third year in a row distributing dictionaries to all third graders at all elementary schools in San Carlos, public, private and charter included.
According to San Carlos Rotary President Bernie Mellott, the San Carlos Rotary Club joins other Rotarians and civic organizations around the country in The Dictionary Program, a non-profit that was founded in the South in 1995. Since its inception, the program has provided more than 18 million students with new edition dictionaries, according to the nonprofit organization.
The goal of the program is to provide each student with a personal dictionary, which should aid the students in becoming better writers, readers and critical thinkers. Using a dictionary increases a child's resourcefulness and might even spark a bit of curiosity too.
"My philosophy is that every house should always have some hard copy books, there's a certain comfort in hard copy books and kids have to learn that there's more than one way to find out the meaning of a word," Mellott said.
"Not everyone has a computer in their home, not everybody has the affordability, there are many places where the family doesn't have a computer to go and look up a word. Having a dictionary allows a child accessibility at any time," she said.
In San Carlos, students began receiving dictionaries just prior to the holiday break and distribution occurred last week at Charter Learning Center on Thursday and at Arundel on Friday. The dictionaries are new edition resource books with color pages and bold type.
"The children just light up when they receive their dictionary," Mellott said. Mellott remembers having the pleasure of distributing a dictionary to her granddaughter at White Oaks Elementary School a few years back and said she treasures that memory.
"Each child is called up and shakes hands with one of the two or three Rotarians doing the distribution at that site," Mellott says of the ceremonious and now annual event.
Union Bank at the corner of Laurel and Olive streets is the underwriter of the program, according to Mellott. Each year, the bank donates the entire cost of the dictionaries, making the program possible.
According to a statement issued by the San Carlos School District, the program is greatly appreciated. "San Carlos School District would like to say a big "thank you" to the San Carlos Rotary Club for the presentation of the dictionaries to all third grade students... We deeply appreciate their efforts in contributing to the success of our students."
Mellott says the club hopes to continue this program for as long as it can. "It's just a great program overall and we hope to do it always."