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Rotary Club supports literacy with dictionary gift

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Third grade is seen as a benchmark year in education.

How well a student can read in third grade is seen as a key indicator for how well they will do academically in future years.

The Rotary Club of Chilton County is doing its part to help students succeed by giving a dictionary to each third-grade student in Chilton County Schools.

Club President Gordon Swenson said the dictionary giveaway used to be something that a sponsor through the district funded. The club had not been able to keep the program going when the district sponsor moved on to another endeavor.

“With the success of the Taste of Chilton, we were able to do it again,” Swenson said.

Taste of Chilton is a joint venture with Senior Connection and funds raised are split between the two organizations. Rotary Club’s portion this year was $7,000.

More than 600 students and each teacher received a dictionary.

Each dictionary cost $2.50.

“It’s are single largest project,” Swenson said.

Swenson said the club chose a good dictionary for the age group, which included study materials in the back, such as maps and science information.

“We’re helping the kids, and we’re helping the community,” Swenson said.

The project is one the Rotary Club plans to continue with funds from Taste of Chilton in future years.

“Next year, we will be looking at the need for Spanish-English dictionaries,” Swenson said.

He said a large percentage of students in the Jemison area that speak Spanish.

The club works with the school system to visit each school and deliver the dictionaries.