Hundreds of dictionaries donated to Santa Maria third grade students

Books given by Rotary Club of Santa Maria

Hundreds of dictionaries donated to Santa Maria third grade students

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Hundreds of Santa Maria third grade students now have a new personal dictionary.

"It's great and I really like it," said Jimenez Elementary School student Jennifer Morales. "There's a lot of words and it will help you learn."

On Tuesday, the Rotary Club of Santa Maria distributed about 1,900 dictionaries to third graders at each of the 16 elementary schools in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District.

"We know kids are hungry for learning and we want to provide them an opportunity to do that," said Rotarian Lynda Gantt. "Now, they don't need technology. They can carry their pocket dictionary and learn different words and their meanings and how to apply them, so we think this is a really good gift for education."

The service club has donated dictionaries to area schools before, but not since 2013.

For educators, it's a welcome return.

"I can't express how grateful we are for all these dictionaries," said Jimenez Elementary School principal Richard Ruiz. "If they inspire just one child to just get in there every day and learn a new word, that child is going to be so much more articulate than they could have ever been without this dictionary in their hands."

Ruiz pointed out that prior to the giveaway, many of the students had actually never held the old-fashioned reference source.

"It's a thing of a past, but it's so relevant for kids today," said Ruiz "They're just used to looking up words and this is really going to put the language and also spelling in the forefront."

He added there are actually many students that do not have regular online access.

"Not every kid has access to a computer at home and/or WiFi and not every school has a one-to-one computer for every child, so I think that having these dictionaries and showing kids that there's more than one way to get a task done, it really prepares them for the 21st century."

The Rotary Club purchased the books with money generated through year-long fundraising events.

"(Students) were very delighted and pleased to have this information and I saw a number of children open it up right away and study it, so the rewards were there right away when we saw their faces," said Gantt.

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