Elementary school students in the Long Beach Unified School District will receive a brand new dictionary as part of a donation program funded by the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.
The program, Dictionary Days, was the Foundation’s opportunity to connect the 12 branches across the city with local schools. Support was also made possible from Farmers & Merchants Bank.
“We are grateful to Farmers & Merchants Bank for providing the funding necessary to ensure that this year’s third-grade class is not left behind,” said Library Foundation Executive Director and CEO, Veronica Garcia Dávalos.
According to a district report published in March of 2022, during the first in-person school year since the pandemic began, over 60 percent of elementary and middle school students in Long Beach read below grade level. A dictionary/thesaurus will help students stay on track, while further developing their lexicon.
“We are proud to have made the Dictionary Days program for this school year’s third-grade students possible. Now more than ever, Long Beach students need educational tools, like a dictionary/thesaurus, to succeed in school,” said Farmers & Merchants Bank President, Henry Walker.
The 2021-2022 school year marked the Dictionary Days program’s 19th year since it was founded in 2003 by the Library Foundation and the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation. Since then, more than 135,000 new dictionaries have been distributed to Long Beach third-grade students.
In June of 2019, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation was awarded the California Association of Teachers of English 2019 Award of Merit for the annual Dictionary Days program.
“The Dictionary Days program is the Library Foundation’s opportunity to reach outside of the City’s 12 public libraries and provide educational resources directly to students in their schools,” said Dávalos.
According to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, students who are not reading proficiently by the fourth grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma. Third grade is an important year for students because it marks their transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
“Providing students with the tools to be successful is crucial to their development and should be the goal of every supporter of education,” said Ryan Ballard, Library Foundation Board President.
The Long Beach Unified School District is set to distribute the dictionaries and thesauruses to all third-grade students at their schools in the upcoming days.
By Carter Williams II
Photo credit: Long Beach Public Library Foundation