Submitted by Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Chair  

It is time for Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL) Dictionary Project!  

Despite the internet, dictionary use is still a needed skill. Dictionaries are important in the digital age because they help children understand the meanings of words; learn the English language and spell words correctly; follow instructions;  and carry on conversations. 

The more words a child knows, the better the child will be able to understand and connect with other people.  Since 2003, each school year, RCSL promotes literacy and forges connections with young people through the Club’s Dictionary Project. 

The Dictionary Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995, has the goal to assist all students to become good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students a gift of their own personal dictionary. The dictionary is filled with more than just terms and definitions. It often represents the first personal book these children are given and contains mini encyclopedia filled with maps; sections on world geography, civics, math conversion tables, science, the water cycle, planets, the constitution, bill of rights, presidents, largest word and even has illustrations for sign language and braille.  

Annually, RCSL provides the purchasing, preparation and delivery of “A Student's Dictionary” with book mark to 3,000-plus all the 3rd Grade Students in Chandler Unified School District, approved Private Schools, Indian Reservations, and Title 9 Schools. To date the RCSL has distributed over 54,000 dictionaries. 

As part of the preparation, over 20 RCSL, members of the Chandler Horizon’s Club, friends and families recently held a sticker party and readied 3,078 dictionaries for delivery to CUSD schools.    

Some quotes from teachers:  “Please know that you have touched the lives of our students in a very meaningful way” and “The gift of knowledge is the most precious gift of all.”  The happiness and wonder on the kiddo’s faces is the gift we Rotarians receive. 

To quote some students from their thank you notes: “The longest word is really cool.”  “That was nice of you to spend your money on the dictionaries for us!”  “I will always think of the Rotary Club giving all third graders such a useful gift.”  “You’re the best people ever.  Keep doing what you do best.”

For more information about RCSL – see

·      Rotarian Dave and Joan Anciaux, along with Rotarian Chuck and Sandi Hawkins celebrate the completion of the preparation of the dictionaries for delivery to 35+ CUSD schools – see boxes of dictionaries behind the the two couples. Photo by Jon Lyons