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3rd graders receive gift of words

3rd graders receive gift of words
3rd graders receive gift of words
Harrison County Community Foundation executive director Steve Gilliland, left, Mike Waiz, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, and Leslie Robertson, Harrison County Councilwoman and vice chair of the CFSI Board of Directors, hand out dictionaries to third graders in Thelma Fields' New Middletown Elementary classroom. (Photo by Lindsey Corley)

It was like Christmas had come early last week for third-grade classes in Harrison County, at least for those children who love words.
Each third grader in a Harrison County public school received a free, personal dictionary, thanks to a grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, as part of The Dictionary Project, a nonprofit organization that has given away some 9 million dictionaries since it began in 1992.
Members of both Foundations volunteered to act as Santa’s Elves and help distribute the books throughout the county. In Thelma Fields’ New Middletown Elementary School classroom, the students were anxious to know what was in the boxes carried by Steve Gilliland and Bette Harper, both of the Harrison County Community Foundation, and Mike Waiz and Leslie Robertson, with the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.
‘Do we look like Santa’s helpers?’ Gilliland, executive director of HCCF, asked the students.
They replied with a resounding ‘No,’ but that didn’t stop Gilliland from proclaiming Christmas had, indeed, come a little early. Cheers erupted from the class.
‘They’ll really enjoy these,’ Fields said.
One of the Indiana language art standards for third graders is that they must understand the purpose of and learn to use various reference materials, including dictionaries, so Fields said this is a most appropriate gift for this age group.
After receiving their personal dictionaries, the students began looking up their favorite words or phrases.
They use dictionaries often in her class, Fields said, especially with a certain word-challenge game.
Waiz, president and CEO of CFSI, said 32,000 dictionaries were given away to Indiana students last year and the goal is to make the giveaway an annual event.