Ro­tary Club pro­motes lit­er­acy

Tillsonburg News - - OPINION - Chris Ab­bott

One of the main thrusts of the Ro­tary Club is en­cour­ag­ing lit­er­acy.

In this area Ro­tary Clubs in Ox­ford Coun­try dis­trib­ute dic­tio­nar­ies to ev­ery Grade 3 stu­dent - dic­tio­nar­ies the clubs pur­chase and hand out free of charge.

Jim Don­ald­son, from the Ro­tary Club of Till­son­burg, has been re­spon­si­ble for seven lo­cal schools for the past 15-plus years, giv­ing out dic­tio­nar­ies at four Till­son­burg schools, both Court­land schools, and yes­ter­day he con­cluded his ‘2018 tour’ at Emily Stowe Pub­lic School in Nor­wich.

“I’ll hand out 270 books,” said Don­ald­son, a re­tired Annandale and Glen­dale High School teacher.

Don­ald­son’s pre­sen­ta­tion at Annandale Pub­lic School Fri­day morn­ing in­cluded a sam­ple of books from his own col­lec­tion - books on fan­tasy, wildlife, his­tory and sci­ence - hop­ing to get stu­dents in­ter­ested in read­ing.

“It’s worked out re­ally well and I think it does a lot of good for these stu­dents.”

The idea be­hind the Ro­tary pro­ject, he said, is that dic­tio­nar­ies are be­com­ing scarce.

“Some kids prob­a­bly never see a dic­tio­nary at home,” said Don­ald­son. “A dic­tio­nary is a tool. It’s a tool to un­der­stand­ing and learn­ing. If you don’t know what the word means, it’s hard to grasp what it is you’re read­ing. So by hav­ing a dic­tio­nary you get them used to the idea that if they don’t know what the word means, they can look it up.

“That’s part of the deal - part of ad­vanc­ing lit­er­acy is get­ting peo­ple to read. It’s no fun read­ing some­thing if you don’t un­der­stand what you’re read­ing. You don’t know what it says. You don’t know when to laugh, cry... or what­ever.

“A book is a phys­i­cal en­tity, it’s not some­thing that can be lost on a com­puter. This is phys­i­cal, solid, it’s yours. It’s a good pro­gram.”

The Ro­tary Club of Till­son­burg, which spon­sors an­nual youth ex­changes, also pro­motes lit­er­acy by giv­ing away free books at Turtle­fest, and sell­ing books at its an­nual book fair, which pro­vides low-cost books to the com­mu­nity and re­cy­cles used books.

“At Turtle­fest we gave away 500 free books - that was fun,” said Don­ald­son, not­ing the books were do­nated by var­i­ous peo­ple and clubs.

Chris Ab­bott/ Till­son­burg news

Till­son­burg Ro­tary Club’s Jim Don­ald­son presents Grade 3 stu­dents at Annandale Pub­lic Schools with dic­tio­nar­ies.

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