Dartmouth Grange spreads learning with dictionaries for third graders

Nov 20, 2017

Dartmouth third grade students are now the proud owners of Webster’s dictionaries thanks to the Dartmouth Grange.

As part of the Massachusetts State Grange’s “Words for Thirds” community service project, Dartmouth Grange members distributed 294 dictionaries to students in 12 classrooms at the Quinn, Potter, and DeMello Schools.

Although the dictionary drive has a long history in Dartmouth, it was not held for several years until members resurrected the tradition three years ago, explained member Elizabeth Newton.

“Even though today there’s a lot of online sources out there, a dictionary in hand is still a very useful tool,” Newton said.

The program targets third grade students because they hit a cornerstone of their education, Newton explained.

“There’s a belief that the third grade is an interesting turning point in student education because students go from learning to read to reading to learn, and dictionaries guide them in their ability to do research,” Newton said.

The Grange purchased the dictionaries from The Dictionary Project, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that works with sponsors to supply schoolchildren with dictionaries.

Funding for the initiative came from the group’s general fund, which includes proceeds from various events and fundraisers like the Grange Fair and auction events.

“Everything the Grange earns goes either for upkeep of the Grange hall or to community service projects,” Newtown said, adding that the hall itself is also a community service.

Each dictionary included a custom bookplate with each student’s name. Quinn Elementary School Assistant Principal Stephanie Yermalovich said third grade students were thrilled to call their new dictionaries their own.

“They kiddos were very excited to bring the dictionaries back to class, and super excited when they found out their names were on the inside cover,” Yermalovich said.