Grangers present dictionaries to Dexter third-graders

Posted March 27, 2012, at 4:23 p.m.
Mariah McCormack, a third-grader at Ridgeview Elementary School in Dexter smiles at the idea of being able to look up words in a dictionary presented to her and her classmates by members of Garland Grange.
Mariah McCormack, a third-grader at Ridgeview Elementary School in Dexter smiles at the idea of being able to look up words in a dictionary presented to her and her classmates by members of Garland Grange.

DEXTER, Maine — Third-grade students attending Ridgeview Community School in Dexter recently welcomed a team of Garland Grange members who gave them dictionaries.

The team was led by Bill Bemis, master of the Grange, accompanied by Grange members Ernest Rollins and Baca Myers. This is the third year Garland Grange has donated dictionaries to Ridgeview students as part of the Words for Thirds Program.

The mission of the program is to aid third-grade teachers in their goal to have their students leave school at the end of the year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers. The dictionaries are for the children to keep.

As the team distributed a dictionary to each student it became apparent there was something a little different this year. As students followed the instruction to write their names on the label on the first page many exclaimed, “Hey, my dictionary smells like apples!” Rollins admitted this was probably because they had been stored briefly in the apple barn at Rollins Orchards.

Rollins introduced several new words to the third-graders who quickly learned to use guide words to find definitions. It also didn’t take long for them to see the usefulness of the dictionaries.

Mariah McCormack loves to read and write. She’s proud that she has read 67 books so far this year and will add the dictionary to her list. “When I’m writing and have to edit what I wrote, I can look up words I’ve spelled wrong or am not sure and get it right.” She also discovered the encyclopedia portion in her dictionary. “I can also look up presidents and use the maps. There’s lots of stuff in here.”

Classmate Tom Urlickson agreed and immediately began practicing sign language using the chart he discovered in his dictionary. Students familiarized themselves with their new books by looking up words such as “Grange” and “patron.” After reading the definition together, Rollins explained more about the Grange. “Now you have a new word and a new dictionary,” he said.

Bemis said parents of home-schooled children may contact the school in order to receive a dictionary.

Garland Grange has provided dictionaries to students in the area for eight years. Members also make an annual trip to Harmony Elementary School to present dictionaries.

For information on the Dictionary Project, email wordpower@dictionaryproject.org or visit dictionaryproject.org.

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