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Rotary delivers on Dictionary Day to all third graders in Lee County

By Staff | Oct 6, 2010

Alex Werner, right, shows students where the Rotary Club's 4-Way Pledge appears in their dictionaries while fellow Rotarian Lee Almas and teacher Annie Franke look on.

Alex Werner, Lee Almas and Warner Byrum, all members of the Sanibel-Captiva chapter of Rotary International, walked out of the main office at The Sanibel School last Friday morning after taking part in Dictionary Day. Each year, Rotary Clubs across Lee County hand out free dictionaries to every third grader in the district.

“Another good deed done,” said Werner.

On Friday morning, the three Rotarians visited third grade classes taught by Renae Atkinson and Annie Franke, surprising the youngsters with brand new softcover dictionaries.

“These dictionaries are your to keep,” Werner told the smiling students. “You can bring them home with you. And when your parents ask you where you got it, you can tell them ‘The Rotary Club game this to me.’ Maybe they’ll join us, and maybe some day when you’re old enough, you’ll join us, too.”

According to Almas, the club has conducted Dictionary Day each of the past 10 years.

Renae Atkinson's third grade class with the San-Cap Rotary Club members.

“One of the efforts we make in Lee County is to try and help increase literacy,” he said. “Last year, we handed out more than 10,000 dictionaries to third graders.”

Last week, local club representatives distributed 35 dictionaries at The Sanibel School.

“This is just wonderful,” said Franke, who recently joined the school staff. “We usually don’t have enough dictionaries to go around, but now they each have their own. They are really helpful in the classroom.”

Atkinson agreed.

“We just learned a lesson last week by using the dictionary,” she added. “We were doing research on the Declaration of Independence and had to look up some of the words contained in that. This is a very important tool to have.”

Annie Franke's third graders pose for a picture with the Rotarians.

Werner also reminded the youngsters of the Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test, which is not only imprinted inside each dictionary but also appears on the wall of the school’s cafetorium:

• Is it the truth?

• Is it fair to all concerned?

• Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

• Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Lee Almas, left, and Warner Byrum hand out dictionaries.

“This is always a very rewarding experience,” said Werner. “And I think it’s one of our favorite community endeavors.”

Teacher Renae Atkinson reacts after reading the longest word in the English language noted in the dictionary.