02-18-12: Lion's Club and Grange give third graders dictionaries
02-18-12: Lion's Club and Grange give third graders dictionaries

New dictionaries are in the hands of every third grader at seven of the district’s elementary schools this year thanks to a donation from the Puyallup Valley Lion’s Club and Waller Road Grange.

This is the second consecutive year that the Puyallup Valley Lion’s Club has given dictionaries to elementary students in Puyallup, and it increased the number of schools receiving the books from three last year to five this year: Firgrove, Spinning, Stewart, Sunrise, and Wildwood elementary schools.

Several members of the service club recently delivered the paperback dictionaries to Kelly Clarendon’s third-grade class at Spinning Elementary. They handed books to each student, helped them look up words and interesting facts, and encouraged them to use dictionaries as a reference throughout their lives.

“These dictionaries are your very own,” said Don Fankhauser, chairman of the club’s school dictionary program and also a past club president.

Fankhauser instructed each third grader to write their name inside the front cover and then encouraged students to look up the word “service.”

Like the definition, which is “a job that one performs for others,” he told the class, “We are serving and helping you.”

Hands flew in the air excitedly as he called on students to locate the names of presidents in the back of the dictionary, as well as to look at a map of the United States.

“Find the state of Hawaii,” Fankhauser said. “How is it different than most other states?”

After he talked with the class about islands, he asked students to flip to the last page of the reference book. A series of gasps, and several shouts of "Wow!" followed as students tried to pronounce the longest word in the English language — a 1,909-letter word defined as a type of enzyme.

“Now that is a fun word to look at, isn’t it?” Fankhauser said with a grin.

In the short time since they received their dictionaries, Clarendon said her students have looked up vocabulary words for the week, as well as checked definitions of interesting words they found in their reading books.

“They have been excited to show me and their classmates what they have found,” she said.

Fankhauser knows the value of a dictionary in a child’s hands. He taught 26 years in the school district, including five years at Spinning Elementary.

The 11-year veteran of the Lion’s Club told students the organization enjoys doing community service projects like the dictionary project. The club organizes several fundraising events during the year, including a golf tournament and spaghetti feed, to help pay for projects such as the dictionary give-away and student scholarships.

“We like to go out and help people when we can,” he said.

The Waller Road Grange is another local community group that gives dictionaries each year to some of the district's third graders. This year, the Grange presented dictionaries to Fruitland and Waller Road elementary schools as part of its "Words for Thirds" program.