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