There were excited murmurs among the fourth graders sitting cross-legged at Fairfield Elementary in Maumee as the students thumbed through their very own crisp, new books.
Now, we have something to say, teacher Lindsey Burmeister said, prompting a unanimous chorus of thank you.
This week, the Maumee Rotary Foundation bestowed every fourth grader in Maumee City Schools with his or her own paperback dictionary and thesaurus.
You could look up dazzling, Garret Camp, 10, said.
Or Mississippi, Natalie Carey, 9, said.
The foundation has given the reference books to Maumee fourth graders since 2006. The project was the brainchild of Maumee City Schools Superintendent Greg Smith.
A former leader of the Maumee Rotary Club, a chapter of the international service group for professionals, Mr. Smith said he got an idea for the book gifts after he heard of similar projects at other Rotary clubs.
Fourth grade was the right age because students were ready for their own dictionary and thesaurus that would carry them through their middle school years, the superintendent said.
The idea stuck, and won t soon be going away, Maumee Rotary president Bill Haupricht said.
The foundation spends about $900 to give the books to over 200 Maumee students every year.
Hopefully it gives students the feeling that if they don t know what something is, they re not afraid to go find it, Mr. Haup richt said. I think that s very important.
Because writing is an aspect in all academic subjects, teachers encourage students to keep the Rotary gifts within easy reach throughout the school day, said Joe Taylor, principal of Fairfield Elementary.
We see them with the older students too, Mr. Taylor said of the gifts. They aren t collecting dust.
Garret Camp said he was excited about using the thesaurus instead of using the same old words over and over.
It s helping kids and helping our school, said Makaylee Wilgus, 9.
Bryce Walker, 10, said he was grateful for the gift because it made it possible to avoid the bulky classroom reference books.
It s going to be so nice, instead of going all the way over there and pulling out those heavy dictionaries, he said. We can finally take them home.