MORE than 20,000 Usborne Illustrated English Dictionaries have been given to Year 4 pupils since 2008.
An initiative of the Rotary Club of Invercargill North, club president Lindsay Jordan said Rotarian John Flynn was inspired to bring the idea to Southland after seeing a stand with dictionaries which were given to every child in the United States during a visit to a Rotary conference in Salt Lake City in 2007.
Speaking to pupils at Donovan Primary School at the official launch of this year’s programme earlier this week, Mr Jordan said it was important for the Rotary club and its supporters – Bowmont Meats, Mainfreight and the Rotary Foundation – to continue the community initiative.
“We will continue to do this because we feel it’s important.”
Rotary Club district 9980 assistant governor Dave McKissock, who was formerly a teacher, said it was important to have a dictionary.
“I encourage you to take them home and use them at school… use them every day.”
Donovan Primary School principal Peter Hopwood encouraged the pupils to “treasure” their dictionaries as “it will last you long past Donovan… through high school…
“They are not just for you, but also for your parents, brothers and sisters. A house needs a dictionary.
“My dad gave me my dictionary when I was at high school and I use my dictionary all the time.”
This year, 900 dictionaries were given to pupils in 25 schools throughout Invercargill, Makarewa, Bluff, Myross Bush and Steward Island as part of Rotary International’s Literacy Month in March and Rotary’s Dictionaries In School programme.