Welcome to the Winnetka Rotary Literacy Projects Blog

Our literacy committee blog shares information about our Rotary literacy projects and events associated with sharing access to the many different ways in which people read. Some access reading the "traditional" way, some have computers read books, Internet pages, newspapers, and other print material. Our goal is to make the "written word" accessible to every person of every age and ability.

Please come back to find out about our past, present, and future projects.

What is the impact of illiteracy?

Illiteracy causes more harm than merely having a reduced ability to read and write. Illiteracy causes entire families to remain isolated from the everyday fabric of their local and global communities, to remain isolated from inspiration acquired by "enough education," and to remain isolated from a means to share history beyond the reaches of their spoken word.
----Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winnetka-Northfield Rotary wins two grants

Dr. Jeanne Beckman, literacy chair and board member of the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary, is pleased to announce that our Rotary club is the recipient of grants from both the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary foundation as well as a district simplified grant (DSG) from District 6440 of Rotary International. Here is a description of the project:
For the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary’s literacy project, the traditional Rotary Dictionary Project (one book for every 3rd grader), will be combined with added bonus of the Ultimate Talking Dictionary (computer software that is a full dictionary that reads aloud the definitions, so that every third grader in the Winnetka and Northfield public schools(plus one dictionary for each special needs and ELL student in all grades between kindergarten and eighth grade),can not only have his or her own traditional print dictionary, but can own his or her own copy of dictionary software to look up words on a computer at school or at home. Here’s a description of the Ultimate Talking Dictionary:
The Ultimate Talking Dictionary (UTD), is not only a comprehensive dictionary, but has other robust, integrated features that make it unlike any other dictionary anywhere. Like all other Premier products, UTD reads everything to you. The dictionary contains over 250,000 words, terms, jargon, and even proper nouns like geographic entries (e.g. cities, countries) and historical persons. UTD has a complete thesaurus built-in that allow you to quickly find synonyms and their corresponding definitions. The “Power Search” feature lets you look up words when you only know a partial spelling. Premier’s unique Interlink technology incorporates complex cross-references between all words in the UTD so you can quickly find related terms and definitions, even when you only have a vague concept of a word.
1. How will this project meet the needs of the community?

Even though many of the students in these two communities have family incomes that are far above those generally viewed as in need, most, if not all, students can benefit from additional vocabulary support and encouragement. The dictionary project has repeatedly demonstrated that students feel great pride in ownership in having their own personal dictionary. Additionally, many students have some barriers to easy acquisition to vocabulary growth, whether due to unidentified or identified learning challenges, disabilities, and/or English language learning. Combining both traditional dictionaries with software versions allows equal access and provides a foundation for lifelong learning.

2. How will the sponsoring club or clubs work together to implement this project?
The Literacy committee’s project for our club is a “traditional plus” project, which will deliver a personalized copy (with a Winnetka-Northfield Rotary nameplate inside) of DictionaryProject.org’s Webster’s Dictionary for Students Special Encyclopedic Edition dictionary plus a copy of the Ultimate Talking Dictionary to every third grader at Winnetka and Northfield schools. Additionally, a copy of both will be provided to each child in first through eighth grades with an IEP or 504 (i.e. special needs students) and English language learners (ELL), regardless of grade in school so that every child can experience success by having an equal opportunity to acquire the rich vocabulary of the written word.

In addition to attending an assembly where our club members will deliver these dictionaries to the schools, Rotarians will also participate in a hands-on project of converting books on the third grade reading list (at the Winnetka-Northfield public library) into accessible text via scanning each one into accessibility software (loaned by Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club to the public library, a 2007 district award-winning Winnetka-Northfield Literacy project). School-provided library copies of these traditional books will be scanned, and their accessible versions will be placed on a CD in a Rotary bookplated pocket inside the front cover and returned to the respective school libraries.

Hands on component:
Ø Rotarians going to schools and presenting “dictionaries with a difference” to assembly of 3rd graders and possibly assembly of special needs students
Ø volunteering reading books aloud, either at schools or at the public library
Ø Northfield: possible facilitating special thesaurus projects at school request
Ø Age-appropriate mentoring student projects of making books accessible
Ø Scanning 3rd grade book lists into accessible print
Ø Scanning/mentoring of scanning of other book lists into accessible print as project matures
Ø Accessibility software utilized in library with possible student and parent mentoring

Stay tuned to find out how we plan to "pay forward" this project