Rotary gives dictionaries to more than 1,200 Marysville third-graders

MARYSVILLE — Preston Lawrence is still in third grade, but the Grove Elementary student already has his career path planned out for when he grows up.

"I want to be a scientist," Lawrence said on March 4, in between poring over the pages of his new dictionary. "But to do that, I need to know the definitions of words, so I'll know what they mean when I study them."

Lawrence and every other third-grade student in the Marysville School District got a leg up on their adult aspirations on March 4, when more than 45 Marysville Rotarians distributed more than 1,200 full-color hard-bound dictionaries to the district's 13 elementary schools as part of their seventh annual "Dictionaries in a Day" program.

Marysville Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux was one of the Rotarians who took a hands-on approach to promoting literacy during this year's single-day push, as he and other Rotarians helped students sign their names in their new dictionaries and spoke to them about what made this gift possible.

"How many of you have been to the Rotary's pumpkin patch around Halloween?" Lamoureux asked the third-graders of Grove Elementary, receiving a room of raised hands in response. "A community service organization is a group that gets together to raise money to give back to the community, so when you and your families buy Halloween pumpkins at our patch, that gives us the money to give you these dictionaries."

Lamoureux told the third-graders that student reading is connected to adult success, a message echoed by fellow Marysville Rotarian Daryn Bundy.

"Seeing huge smiles on the faces of students as they personalize their dictionaries with their names makes the hours of hard work at the pumpkin patch well worth it," Bundy said. "We believe that every child should succeed in school and we're taking on that challenge."

Grove Elementary third-graders were put through their paces after receiving their dictionaries when teachers and Rotarians instructed them to look up a number of words. Even after the students returned to their classrooms, teachers such as Cheryl Jones continued the lesson by explaining to the new dictionary owners how they could check the syllables and phonetic pronunciations of words in their dictionaries.

"I love seeing them get so excited," Jones said. "They'll be using these dictionaries for a long time, and they appreciate having them so much."

The Rotary Club of Marysville has distributed more than 8,000 dictionaries to third-grade students since the "Pumpkins for Literacy" fundraiser was established at the Smokey Point Plant Farm seven years ago.

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