October 7, 2010|
During the past two weeks, Putnam Rotarians have distributed personal dictionaries to some 750 sixth graders.
Students at Poca and Hurricane Middle Schools received copies of the study and composition aid last week. Yesterday books were given to students at George Washington Middle School, and the project for the current school term was completed today at Winfield.
This is the fourth year that Putnam Rotary has collaborated with the National Dictionary Project to make the reference books available to area students.
The National Project has provided over 13.7 million dictionaries since 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Georgia, gave 50 dictionaries to children who attended a school close to her home.
Nearly 2.5 million dictionaries were distributed by the National Project last year alone.
Rotary District 7550, which includes 28 local clubs in southern West Virginia, decided to contribute to the Dictionary Project as an educational charity for 2005.
But there was a problem: Putnam students already had dictionaries. So in 2005, the books from the district were donated to an adult literacy program.
The following school term and thereafter, Putnam Rotary gave copies of Webster's New Basic Thesaurus to sixth graders in county middle schools.
The thesaurus, a dictionary of synonyms, would be a valuable reference resource at a time when students face a growing emphasis on composition skills -- the second R in basic "reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic."
Christina McComas, coordinator of the local project, said, "A thesaurus can help build vocabulary and writing skills.
"We like to think that our local support for this project has played a role in the top test scores earned by Putnam students," said McComas.
At least 24 counties in West Virginia expect to receive 6,600 books from the National Project during the current school year.
In Putnam County the project this year is co-sponsored with RI District 7550.