Kiwanis Club sponsors dictionary handout

Third-grader Adele Werner is one of hundreds of Valley students to receive a free dictionary through the Kiwanis Club’s “Words for Thirds” program. - Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Third-grader Adele Werner is one of hundreds of Valley students to receive a free dictionary through the Kiwanis Club’s “Words for Thirds” program.
— image credit: Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record

A few weeks before Christmas, third-graders in the Snoqualmie Valley School District received a gift that will serve them for years.

This semester, the Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis Club gave out about 600 dictionaries to children who are just now learning about reference books and building up their lexicons.

North Bend Elementary student Paxson Russell beamed as he wrote his name on the first page of his new book.

“Cool!” he exclaimed, thumbing through pages that contain not only your standard definitions, but also information about sign language, foreign countries, the solar system and countless other facts that fascinate third graders.

“It has the longest word,” said Russell, wide-eyed and pointing to a 1,909-letter formula for a chemical enzyme.

The extensive word was a hit with all the students, who wondered at its pronunciation and cringed when teachers joked it might appear on a future spelling test.

“The dictionary has all kinds of other information that interests these guys. It gets them into books, and it gets them into learning,” said Kiwanis member Paul Tredway, who helped organize the project. Kiwanis Clubs around the world participate in the “Words for Thirds” program. The local chapter gave out dictionaries for a second time this year after taking over the project from the now-disbanded Sallal Grange. Funds came from the club’s year-round fundraising efforts, the largest of which is the sale of fireworks over the summer.

After pointing out some of the book’s niftier features to the children, Tredway took a moment to remind them that their new gifts resulted from volunteer efforts, and he encouraged them to give back to their community, too. He told them about the Builders Club, a middle school service organization, and Key Club, its high school counterpart.

“This was a good way for us to help the school district, to help the kids, and have an opportunity to get a message out to the kids, encouraging them to perhaps volunteer at the middle school and the high school level as they get older, to do these types of things in the community. It helps,” Tredway said.

The local Kiwanis Club, about 30 members strong, is also working to make the holiday season brighter for Valley residents. Each Kiwanis member will give a gift to and eat lunch with an at-risk child on Thursday, Dec. 11. Hundreds of underprivileged Valley children will receive gifts through the club’s Giving Tree program this season.

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