By TIM CLEVELAND
The motto of the Boardman Rotary is “Service above self.” The club put that motto to use the first week of February during Right to Read Week, as the group distributed dictionaries to third-graders in Boardman’s four elementary schools at Market Street, Stadium Drive, Robinwood Lane and West Boulevard.
The club visited Robinwood Lane School on Feb. 6.
Heading the distribution of the dictionaries was Deborah Liptak, the literacy chair of the Boardman Rotary and development director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.
“Seven years ago, our president decided that Rotaries across the United States were starting to do this project, and we wanted to initiate it in our community, so we started it,” she said on how the project came to be started. “I’ve been the chair for the last seven years. We put dictionaries into the third grades in the Boardman Local Schools.”
The third-graders in Robinwood Lane School were brought into one room, where Liptak spoke to them about why they were receiving the dictionaries before the members of the Boardman Rotary passed them out.
Liptak said 100 dictionaries were distributed in each of the schools, and she estimated about 2,800 have been given out in the seven years the project has been going on.
“The kids are really looking forward to it,” Liptak said. “Now, it’s really caught on because they’ve had siblings receive the dictionaries, so they’re waiting to receive their copy to keep. All of the teachers in the third grade, this is a curriculum that they do right now. They do dictionary preparation, where kids are looking up words; they have to look up syllables, verbs, nouns.
“Dictionaries, with words and spelling, this is the time when you introduce all that. It’s an important year. Reading is very important at this time.”
Liptak said that the money to purchase the dictionaries comes from fundraisers that the club does throughout the year.
“The Rotary club does two major fundraisers – they do the pancakes in the (Boardman) Park, they do the Octoberfest. The money that we raise goes back to the community,” Liptak said. “One of the projects that we believe strongly in is literacy projects. They fund the summer reading club for the kids in the Boardman Library, and they fund this dictionary project.”