Dictionary Project

The Dictionary Project is a program that focuses on giving a dictionary to every third grader nationwide.  Many Roary clubs, as well as many other organizations, participate in the project nationwide.  In 2009, 2,488,454 dictionaries were given to students as gifts froom people who live in their town.

The Dictionary Project is working toward the goal of sending dictionaries to every elementary school in the United States. By doing this we hope to have a positive impact on education in this country and empower children to become skillful communicators and resourceful learners. Our country and our world face many challenges, and we need to prepare our young people to be strong, productive citizens who can succeed and grow and solve problems in a rapidly changing world. A pocket dictionary may be a small thing, but it is a powerful tool to help with learning, and when it is a gift from a child’s community, the child learns from it not just the value of school work, but also the example of community service.


In 2009, the Winchester Rotary Club and the Frederick County Rotary Club distributed almost 1,370 dictionaries to third-grade students in 20 public and private schools in Winchester and Frederick County.

The clubs began distributing dictionaries through the Dictionary Project in 2006.  The Winchester Rotary Club received a Rotary district grant to get started and enlisted the help of the Frederick County Rotary club to help distribute dictionaries.  Since that time, the two clubs purchase all the dictionaries and go to local elementary schools to distribute them.

Each dictionary has a bookplate with the Rotary symbol and four-way test.  In many distributions Rotarians discuss the test with the students and use words in the test, such as beneficial, to help students practice their dictionary skills.