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Rotary Club of Stone Mountain, Georgia Gifts Local Refugees with Dictionaries

The Rotary Club of Stone Mountain has leveraged a Rotary District grant to gift 1,200 dictionaries to members of the refugee community recently resettled in Clarkston, Georgia. The club hopes the dictionaries, designed for third-grade students who already speak English, will help the new arrivals develop their English language skills and prepare them for naturalization.

The club has for the past several years participated in the national “Dictionary Project,” a program which distributes dictionaries to third-grade students across the nation, seeking to help them become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners. Sponsors, including civic groups like Rotary Clubs, purchase the dictionaries and then give them to students to use at school and at home for years to come. Educators see third grade as the dividing line between “learning to read and reading to learn,” so sponsors are encouraged to give dictionaries each year to children in the third grade.

This year, the clubb decided to extend their program to refugees living in Clarkston, Georgia, and working with the city, distributed over 1,200 dictionaries through various community events.

“We are so grateful to the Stone Mountain Rotarians for their support of our refugee community,” said Terry Sanders, special project coordinator for the city of Clarkston. “Our newest residents arrive here with little to no English language skills and are trying to learn a difficult language as adults. Many are also studying to become U.S. citizens. These dictionaries will be a vital tool in learning English and a lot about the U.S. that will help them more quickly settle into their communities.”

The dictionary that was distributed this year was A Student’s Dictionary, published by The Dictionary Project. It is 540 pages, with the definitions, pronunciations and parts of speech for 35,000 words. It also has 150 pages of supplemental information, including the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the biographies of U.S. presidents, world maps, information on all 50 states, information on countries of the world, weights and measurements, the Periodic Table, and information on our solar system and the planets.

The club purchased 2,400 dictionaries with the help of a grant from Rotary District 6900. Half the dictionaries were distributed to third-graders in ten DeKalb County Schools, and half went into the Clarkston refugee community. Each dictionary had a sticker inside the front cover noting it was a gift from the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain.

“We are always happy to partner with our community schools on this project, but this year we had the added pleasure of helping our refugee neighbors,” said Gillian Leggett, president of the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain. “Now many of these new families can learn English together and feel more comfortable in their new home.”

Posted by Lizbeth Dison
January 9, 2018

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