Rotary Club of West Ottawa


Business Number: 123917809RR0001

The Rotary Club of West Ottawa delivers a literacy project called Dictionary4Life.  The purpose is to provide a gift of a beautiful illustrated dictionary to Grade 3 students.  The dictionary can be seen at the global website 

Literacy is the area of focus. Our goal is to help develop the youths' vocabulary and better their language understanding, help children develop stronger self esteem, encourage familiarity with books, give "pride of ownership", and promote Rotary values to the child, family and the community. 

This project is very exciting project and the schools are engaged, very receptive, and keen to receive the dictionaries. We look forward to more connections with the community youth, parents and teachers to enhance their awareness of Rotary International and its support of literacy both locally and internationally.   It is an opportunity for schools and the homework clubs to interface further with the community service aspect of  Rotary. 

Literacy is an issue that touches almost every aspect of people's lives. It is instrumental to personal development and economic opportunity, and a major factor in the ability to participate as full and active citizens of society. Literacy skills are critical indicators of the preparedness of young Canadians for the workplace and further education. These skills give young people the capacity for innovative thinking and the adaptability required in today’s knowledge-based economy. People with high levels of literacy are also more likely to be engaged in society, which benefits them and the communities in which they live (Cdn. Council on Literacy, CLI). From the International Adult Literacy Survey (Stats Can, OECD) we learned that literacy development: is strongly influenced in early years by a child's education; leads to healthier habits and lifestyles; is linked to economic success; and, contributes to society's overall economic and social performance.

The project started with 3 schools in 2011 and has grown to include ~20 schools in the National Capital Region but is now available to Rotary Clubs in District 7040 covering Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and upper New York State. Prescott and Kingston youth will be new additions to the project this year. We hope to continue to expand the project so that more youth will be encouraged to improve their literacy skills.

What People Are Saying

"My grade 3 children were surprised and excited when they were given dictionaries of their own, especially ones with such colourful and detailed illustrations!"

— Carol Sabean, Teacher, W.E. Gowling Public School

"This wonderful Rotary Club of West Ottawa initiative gives students a chance to own an incredibly practical and comprehensive resource that they can use for years to come."

— Hanif Jamal, Principal, Severn Avenue Public School

"Each year, grade 3 students look forward to a visit from members of the Rotary Club of West Ottawa where they receive their dictionary and a tutorial on how to use the wonderful resource. Students are always excited and highly motivated by the gift provided by the Dictionary4Life program"

— Jeff Gervais, Principal, Bayshore Public School

"My class has been truly benefitting from and enjoying dictionary ownership. Without prompting, students have referred to their own dictionaries to answer a question. They are a favourite book during our independent reading time. It's exciting to see students use them independently. "

— Rebecca Axford, Teacher, W.E. Gowling Public School

"This is my best book ever!"

— Student, Pinecrest Public School

"We are so lucky that they (Dictionary4life) thought of us. I never had my own dictionary before just ones at the school. "

— Student, Pinecrest Public School

"Given that the dictionary is their personal property they want to use it even more."

— Teacher, Pinecrest Public School

" In class, the children love to find the meanings of new words especially big words! Further they love to use their new, big words and will go back to these dictionaries for help with usage."

— Carol Sabean, Teacher, W.E. Gowling Public School

" Many took them home to use and tell me that family members are borrowing them from time to time. One book such as this has the potential of improving the literacy level in a family."

— Carol Sabean, Teacher, W.E. Gowling Public School

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