For the 15th year in a row, members of the Kiwanis Club of Sonoma Plaza gifted new Merriam-Webster Children’s dictionaries to all 350 third-graders in public and charter elementary schools in Sonoma Valley, including the excited El Verano Elementary School class pictured above. Suzanne Berube, the club’s Dictionary Committee chair, calls the district-wide gift the most “joyful and rewarding” service projects in the club’s 30-year history.
The dictionaries, with a personalized label to instill pride of ownership, were individually presented to each child, often the very first book they have ever owned. Teachers tapped into students’ curiosity and excitement by immediately encouraging exploration of the colorful book, filled with pictures, maps and words.
“After we received the dictionaries, my students spent an hour perusing them,” said one awed teacher. “First, I gave each five post-its to mark special things they found. But soon they wanted more. We met on the rug to share. Everyone picked something different and every time a page was called out, everyone excitedly flipped pages as fast a possible to see the recommendation. A great day!”