Literacy promoted through Rotary's dictionary donation in Folsom

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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The three Folsom rotary clubs came together to promote literacy to Folsom’s third graders. Approximately 1,050 MacMillan Dictionary’s for Children were given away to third graders at 12 private and public schools in Folsom over the last few weeks. “It’s all about literacy,” said David Serpa, a six year member of the Rotary Club of Historic Folsom. “We want the students to read more and learn more. We want them to read to succeed.” The three clubs raised about $13,000 throughout the year to purchase the books as a service project. The dictionaries were given to the children for their use at home. The books belong to the children, not the school. “This is amazing. It’s a gift that the kids will be able to keep forever,” said Monika Himmirch, Empire Oaks Elementary School principal. “These books go home with them and we hope they keep it in a homework spot to use as a reference.” Empire Oaks Elementary School third-grade teacher Mary Garrido said dictionaries are the perfect donation because they complement learning assignments. “Not everyone has a physical dictionary at home these days because most families only use modern technology,” Garrido said. “So it’s important to use the physical book. Third-graders begin testing with dictionaries and thesauruses, so now I can assign homework and know the kids can go home and practice using their dictionary skills.” She said this particular dictionary will be very useful for students because it can be used through middle school. “It’s really exciting for the children to receive the dictionaries,” Garrido said. “It means a lot to the kids to have the Rotarians come out and take the time to do this.” Hanna Koo, 8, is one of the Empire Oaks Elementary School third-graders who received a dictionary. “At school we use dictionaries for homework and now I don’t have to carry my school dictionary home,” Koo said. “I feel thankful because I’ve always wanted a dictionary. Now I’ll be able to look up words and understand them more.” John Abernethy has been with the Rotary Club of Folsom for six years and a Rotarian for 25 years. “It’s a great sense of accomplishment to see their faces light up when we hand them a dictionary, and know we have helped their education,” Abernethy said.