Joliet — For years, the Rotary Club of Joliet has donated dictionaries to third grade students at Joliet Public Schools District 86.
Recently the club donated more than 2,000 dictionaries to third as well as fourth grade students, since the club skipped year due to COVID.
“We have done this for years,” Mary Sheehan, president of Rotary Club of Joliet, said. “We just think it’s cool to have a book in your hands…the kids get so excited about it. I wouldn’t have predicted it in a million years.”
Volunteers personally delivered the dictionaries to 15 schools, shared the four-way test of Rotary and looked up words with the students, Sheehan said.
The four-way test is: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
But in the age of computers and online dictionaries, is a physical dictionary still necessary?
“The first year I did it, I thought the same thing: who needs a book?” Sheehan said. “But there’s something, to me, about holding a book, smelling a book, holding the creases down, wrinkling the papers. Just being able to put your piece of paper on the book while you write is special, especially when you have multiple kids in the home and one computer; someone can use the book. And it’s just kind of a lost art, a fun thing that our kids don’t do anymore.”
Plus, it’s never necessary to refresh the page, she said.
“You can walk away from it, and the page doesn’t go away,” Sheehan said.
Volunteers distributed books at the following District 86 schools: T.E. Culbertson, M.J. Cunningham, Eisenhower, Farragut, Forest Park Individual Education, Thomas Jefferson, Edna Keith, A.O. Marshall, Pershing, Sator Sanchez, Carl Sandburg, Isaac Singleton, Taft, Lynne Thigpen, and Woodland Elementary Schools, according to District 86.