Photos Courtesy Julie Gray
One new word, every 2.7 days, is added to the English dictionary every year. With this in mind, the latest community outreach project sponsored by our local Friends of the Library involved the purchase and donation of age-appropriate dictionaries to local elementary school children. Educators see this age group as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn.
These donated dictionaries will hopefully become a prized personal possession to help children become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners.
Why a print dictionary? Why not just use a computer? Not all children have computers at home or another easy access. In poverty areas in the U.S., one in 10 students does not have access to a computer at home. Even for children with computer access, a dictionary provides benefits a computer cannot: dictionaries are portable and can be used anywhere; a child has a sense of ownership of a book that encourages exploration; and, only a dictionary can provide that delightful experience of looking up a word and getting sidetracked by all the other fascinating words on the same page.
The up-to-date 524 page dictionary is made possible through Dictionary Project, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to making available low-cost dictionaries to community organizations throughout the U.S. who wish to take part in this dictionary drop; our local Friends of the Library is extremely grateful to this non-profit group for making high quality dictionaries available to our community’s children.