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Ekonk Grange donates dictionaries

By Chris Owen, The Reminder News (9-28-07)

  SEPTEMBER 28, 2007 --

Spelling tests won't be so difficult for students in two third grade classes at Sterling Community School. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, two members of Ekonk Grange surprised the students in Mrs. Glaude's and Mrs. Schena's classes with dictionaries that were donated by the Grange.

The 40-plus third graders waited anxiously in Mrs. Schena's classroom - at desks or on the rug in front of the white board - for the "The World's Best Dictionary" to be delivered.

As the dictionaries were handed out, students eagerly began putting their names in the front cover. "I think we will use it for spelling," said Holly DeRouin , 8 as she flipped through the pages, looking up the word "night."

For the fifth year, the Junior Ekonk Grange collected cans, five cents at a time, to buy the dictionaries for 47 Sterling Community third-graders , 32 Voluntown third-graders and 110 of their peers at Moosup Elementary. According to Ekonk Grange member, Rebecca Gervais, the project is part of the national program "Words for Thirds" sponsored by the National Grange.

Once Gervais and Cheryl Theuenet had handed out the dictionaries they proceeded to play several word games, merging the donation with a lesson on phonetically-similar words.

Theuenet asked the boys in the class to look up "knight" and for the girls "night."

But Matthew Maher, 8, was already one step ahead of the game. Having already found his word, he explained the difference.

"I just opened to the right page," said Maher, "but I know one's a person and the other's a time of day."

"We want to encourage that they use this book and wear it out looking up words," said Theuenet.

Theuenet went through a few more examples, before heading to Moosup Elementary with the remaining boxes of dictionaries. The students thanked the two Grange members, as they headed out of the second floor classroom, and Principal Vince Agostine challenged them to find the word with the most definitions.

"Remember, what was once somebody's trash has turned into your treasure," said Theuenet.


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