Wareham Elks Lodge expands students' vocabulary

Oct 2, 2019

If words are a gateway to knowledge, then Wareham’s third-graders may have the ultimate guide when it comes to unlocking the world around them. 

On Wednesday, 150 third-graders from Minot Forest Elementary School received their own Webster dictionaries, courtesy of the Wareham Elks Lodge. The yellow-covered sourcebooks of the English language were eagerly received by students during a 20-minute program in the school’s auditorium. 

Elks Lodge representatives Susan Gifford, Jennifer Watson, Jonie Hackett, and David Carson handed out dictionaries as part of a nationwide literacy initiative titled “The Dictionary Project,” which aims to “assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary.”

Gifford, who has been involved in the project for years, said excitement among the kids has been a constant. 

“These kids are going to love it,” said Gifford. “You’d think we are giving them bicycles.”

Gifford agreed that even though we live in a time when computers play a major role in everyday life, the dictionary will not — and should not — go the way of the dinosaurs.

“Even in this day and age when we have computers, I have trouble spelling words,” said Gifford. “I think it is important to have a book in front of you that you can refer to and look up what things mean.”

Students immediately opened their dictionaries upon receipt and began browsing through the content. Elks representatives directed students to a couple of specific locations in the book for special features such as sign language and the Braille alphabets, but otherwise, let the students discover the books’ benefits on their own.