The gift of knowledge

D'Angelo said that the Rotary Club, which received a grant for the project, will provide dictionaries annually to every third grader. This year, fourth graders were included in an attempt to "catch up," he said.

"This is sweet," third grader Thomas Smith said as he paged through his dictionary immediately after shaking Vuillemot's hand and saying thank you. "This is the best book in the world. I'm going to keep this forever."

After spending time examining the books, fourth graders Hope Allyn and Patrick Hackler said they thought it was especially neat to be able to read facts about the presidents.

Fourth grader William Frank said "I never knew the Romans didn't use the same numbers as us!"

Other students said that while some dictionaries are "old and bulky," their gift dictionaries "are small enough and light enough to fit in our backpacks."

At a morning meeting the next day, Gillian Carey shared that she discovered a page on the Braille alphabet. On the way to recess, she and her classmates were intrigued with actually touching the Braille letters on the bathroom signs.

Fourth graders said they want their third grade friends to notice the information about the European countries for the third grade research projects. Others were already using the sign language page as a resource.

The teachers, in an email, said: "The teachers and the students of the third and fourth grades are very excited about their new gift and would like to thank the Skaneateles Rotary Club. The children felt very special to have their individual names called and then to walk across the stage to meet and shake hands with the Rotarian representatives. The kids really loved it ... a gift that really keeps on giving for our life long learners!"

The Dictionary Project is designed "to aid third grade teachers in their goal to create confident writers, active readers and creative thinkers," Williams said in a letter to parents.

"Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn," the Dictionary Project, a nonprofit organization, says on its website, dictionaryproject.org. "Every year we watch The Dictionary Project grow by expanding our pool of sponsors, so more children can enjoy the benefits of owning their own personal dictionary."

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