Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills Elks Lodge 2731 gives dictionaries to about 530 Pasco students

As a former English teacher and a superintendent of schools in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, Philip Dahlinger was at ease addressing students in the cafeteria at Chester Taylor Elementary School.

Particularly because he and his cohort, Robert Cherry, had a gift for each and every one of them: a brand new Webster's Dictionary that they could write their name in and hopefully put to good use in the years to come.

"You're in third grade now, but in nine years you'll be seniors," Dahlinger told students before they lined up to receive their books. "We hope you will still have these dictionaries then and that you will take good care of them."

About 530 third graders at four local elementary schools recently received the gift of words courtesy of Zephyrhills Elks Lodge 2731.

The Elks organization, which hosts local hoop shoots and is the second-largest giver of scholarships in the world, is in its third year of promoting literacy locally by giving dictionaries to students, this year at Woodland, Chester Taylor, West Zephyrhills and Centennial Elementary Schools.

The Elks are just one of many civic groups to join the Dictionary Project by providing funds and distributing books in their local areas. The project dates back to 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Ga., gave 50 dictionaries to children in local schools. It grew from there, attracting the attention of Bonnie Beeferman of Hilton Head, S.C., in 1995, who started selling crafts to raise money for dictionaries for schools in her area. Since then, some 14 million children have benefited. While some fourth and fifth graders have been recipients, third graders are typically the targeted audience because that is when dictionary skills are traditionally taught and when students begin to apply reading skills to learn other subjects.

No doubt the dictionaries will be put to good use, even for a generation that is growing up with spell check on their computers, Dahlinger said.

"I used to be an English teacher so I love my dictionaries," he said. "They have the words spelled correctly and they are broken up phonetically. But wait till the kids start looking through and get to the back and find that there are weights and measures in there, too — all the presidents of the United States, the state capitals and world maps."

"We'll definitely use these in the classroom," said third-grade teacher Sonya Wilson. " It helps with reading comprehension, and we have new vocabulary words to learn every week, so we'll be using them for that."

"This will help me with my work," said Presley Hammon, 11, as he flipped through the pages.

"It's pretty cool," added Amber Joyce, 8. "I'll use it to study."

>>Fast facts

To learn more

To find out about the Dictionary Project and its mission, go to www.dictionary

project.org.

Zephyrhills Elks Lodge 2731 gives dictionaries to about 530 Pasco students 11/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 8:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Daniel Ruth: Public money built Bucs' stadium, so let public sell tickets

    Columns

    Who knew the Tampa Bay Bucs were actually the Daisies of Dale Mabry?

    Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wants to do what it takes to ensure that those sitting in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium are wearing his team's colors. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]

  2. America's opioid problem is so bad it's cutting into U.S. life expectancy

    Public Safety

    Prosecutors in New York announced this week that an August drug raid yielded 140 pounds of fentanyl, the most in the city's history and enough to kill 32 million people, they told New York 4.

    The average American life expectancy grew overall from 2000 to 2015, but that the astounding rise in opioid-related deaths shaved 2.5 months off this improvement, according to a study. [Associated Press]
  3. After Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay officers headed south to help out

    Public Safety

    When Hurricane Irma was forecast to pummel the Tampa Bay region, Tampa police Cpl. Whitney McCormick was ready for the worst — to lose her home and all of her possessions.

    Tampa International Airport Police Department Sgt. Eric Diaz (left) stands next to Tampa Police Department Cpl. Whitney McCormick at the Collier County Command Post in the days after Hurricane Irma. More than 100 local law enforcement officers traveled from Tampa Bay to help out the county. (Courtesy of Whitney McCormick)
  4. Forecast: Sunny skies, mainly dry conditions continue across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    For Tampa Bay residents, Wednesday is expected to bring lots of sunshine, lower humidity and little to no storm chances.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Florida education news: Irma makeup days, HB 7069, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    MAKEUP DAYS: Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart waives two of the required 180 days of instruction to help districts complete the …

    Education Commissioner Pam Stewart