Rotary E-Club of Upstate NY
District 7190
PROJECT NAME: The Dictionary Project
Website –

Address: The Dictionary Project
P. O. Box 1845
Charleston, SC 29402

Provide a paperback dictionary to each Third Grader in our four area schools: Mechanicville Elementary, Stillwater Elementary, Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District and Hoosic Valley Elementary.  This is a long term club literacy program started in 2004.  Approximately 400 dictionaries are handed out each year.
The goal of this program is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student 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.
  1. Set up Dictionary spreadsheet with names of schools and Number of books needed.
  2. In late May or early June of the prior year, contact all elementary principals by email requesting the number of current second graders and possible third grade additions. Enter on spreadsheet.
  3. Currently two schools (Mechanicville and Waterford-Halfmoon) utilize The Student Dictionary (blue cover).  The other two schools (Stillwater and Hoosic Valley) utilize Webster’s Dictionary for Students – fourth edition (dark red cover)
  4. Check for later editions or new publication dates.  Also check for pricing.  Dictionaries vary in pricing and number of books per carton
  5. Estimate costs for budgeting and applying for Rotary District grants – it may be wise to do this during March of the previous year.
  6. Dictionaries should be ordered by mid-August for distribution in early October (children start friendly letter writing and writing spelling words in October)
  7. Select a shipping location and verify it is available
  8. In August ask for a volunteer to print the bookplates (labels) that go inside the front cover.
  9. When Dictionaries arrive be sure to verify correct shipments.
  10. Set up a labeling party with five or six Rotarians/volunteers and label all the dictionaries. 
  11. Using the spreadsheet, sort by school and mark boxes.
  12. Pay Dictionary invoice promptly.
  13. As soon as possible after school starts in the Fall, contact the principals for distribution dates.  Ask for volunteers to meet at the school.  Be sure someone brings the dictionaries.
  14. Present the dictionary to each individual student
  15. If time permits have the distribution team ready to ask the children to look up a word or two - show special pages such as longest word, maps, sign language, etc.  Be sure to direct attention to the Rotary logo and tell them why our club finds dictionaries important (short)
  16. Take pictures and get permission to use on website and in the newspaper.
  17. Be sure all teachers and the reading or special ed teacher get a dictionary.  Check to see if any students are absent and leave a dictionary for them.
  18. Thank everyone.
If you would like to start a Dictionary Project in your area please contact us on our FaceBook page
Contact Information:
Steve Marra, Principal
Mechanicville Elementary School
25 Kniskern Avenue 
Mechanicville, NY 12118 
(518) 664-7336 
John Powell, Principal
Stillwater elementary School
1068 Hudson Avenue
Stillwater, NY 12170
Mark Foti, Principal
Hoosic Valley Elementary
22 Pleasant Avenue
Schaghticoke NY 12154
Joseph Siracuse, Principal
Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District Elementary
125 Middletown Rd
Waterford NY 12188
Mary Rushkoski, Principal
St. Mary's School
12 6th St
Waterford NY 12188