Columbia Grange donates dictionaries to third-graders

<p> Columbia Grange member Dan Serfice hands a dictionary to a third-grade student at Rocky Heights Elementary School Monday morning. The Columbia Grange has donated dictionaries to every third-grader in Hermiston for the past six to seven years. The effort is known as ‘Words for Thirds.’</p>

The Hermiston Columbia Grange hopes to encourage better readers and writers in Hermiston by donating dictionaries to every third-grade student in Hermiston and Umatilla.

Members from the club visited all elementary schools in the two cities this week to donate dictionaries, hoping it will encourage children to develop an interest in reading and help improve their writing. Armed with boxes of dictionaries stacking 12-feet high, members from the club handed out 600 dictionaries to all the third-graders in the area as part of their “Word for Thirds” program.

Grange member Dan Serfice said the approximately 50-person club has participated in the event every year for the past six or seven years.

“We heard that a lot of the kids come from homes where the only reading around is things like People Magazine,” he said. “This is an actual book, and it is their book.”

Grange member Doris Reid and Serfice visited Rocky Heights Elementary School Monday morning and talked about the importance of a child having their own dictionary as opposed to the readily available resources online.

“Kids need to have a book of their own to read,” Serfice said. “This has definitions and everything in them that you need.”

Reid said she enjoys doing the event every year because she enjoys seeing the smiles on the children’s’ faces and because she enjoys getting out into the community.

“When you add it all together, it becomes a pretty big project,” she said of the event.

Serfice said the event also is a nice way for club members to get out into the schools, meet the teachers in the area and see all of the students. He said the program is part of a national effort on behalf of the Columbia Grange organization.

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