MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minneapolis third graders received a special gift Thursday.

No, they didn’t get Wii Us or iPads. They got something a bit more useful: dictionaries.

For seven years, the Minneapolis Rotary Club donates and delivers a dictionary to every third grade student in the city. For many, the gift is the first “big kid” book the students own.

The Rotary Club gives the dictionaries to third graders because they are in transition. They’re reading to learn, not learning to read.

“They were very excited about it,” said Aurora Charter School teacher Mar Her. “These are their very own dictionaries, often times this is their very first dictionary, so its a pretty cool experience.”

So far, the Rotary Club says it’s handed out 20,000 dictionaries.

“We’re huge proponents of education,” said club member Sharon Bloodworth. “Literacy truly is the key to a child’s success, and so we really want to be there to help that, especially with Minneapolis having a bit of an achievement gap. We think it’s especially important to get in early.”

The dictionaries have extra content, like the longest English word: It’s the name of a chemical. There are conversion table for weights and measures, and even a section with Spanish.

While you might think dictionaries are old-fashioned — that kids can just Google words they want to learn about — the Rotary Club says they do this because many kids don’t have constant access to a computer.


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