Logo for: Rotary Old Saybrook

Dictionary Project

Since 2002 every October, Old Saybrook Rotary purchases and distributes dictionaries to all third grade students in the towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme and Westbrook

Committee Chair Nancy Morin


Third Grade Students from St. Johns receive their 2021 Dictionaries

Old Saybrook Rotary was the first in Connecticut to take part in this national program in 2002. This project, under the direction of Charlie Norz, has been recognized by Rotary district-wide and is met with enthusiastic support by school administration and teachers.

The students love getting their very own dictionaries and immediately began using them!

Oct. 26, 2021 Letter to the club from Chairperson Nancy Morin:

As we wrap up our 3rd grade dictionary distribution I first want to recognize some very special people that helped me in many ways with this project.

Charlie Norz - I honor what you have done over the years with the dictionary project and thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to take over for you.  So many students have expressed to us that their brothers and sisters have received dictionaries over the years, and they were excited to get their own. One of the Goodwin teachers told us she has had hers since 3rd grade and still uses it.  It was so clear that the dictionary project is one of the most anticipated events for 3rd graders.  Charlie was not only instrumental in starting this program 20 years ago, but was an enormous help to me in making sure I had everything I needed to be successful with the program.

Tara Winch, Joan Winters, Pat and Pattie Devito, and Charlie Norz, thank you so much for volunteering in assisting me with the distribution of the dictionaries.  It was beyond wonderful to share these special moments with you.  

As I am writing this email I am smiling over all the memories of the past 2 weeks.  First, having all the students together read out loud the longest word in the English language.  Then the boy that told us exactly what the longest word stood for.  The student that jumped up and said that this was the best book ever.  So special was the group of students practicing their sign language.  And the student that asked if we could come back again.

The personal selling point for me about the value of this dictionary program was knowing how this age group, who relies so heavily on getting their information from electronic devices, showed so much excitement and enthusiasm over exploring the pages of their very own dictionary.

Thank you Rotarians for supporting this project over the years.  Know that you have given so much joy to so many kids!

We took lots of pictures, but before we share them with you I will need to send them to the schools we visited first to make sure we can share them with all of you.


November 2019

Rotarians (L-R) Gary McCauley, John Aforismo, Charlie Norz and Tara Winch distributed dictionaries at the Daisy Ingraham Elementary School in Westbrook. Dictionaries were also given to students at Goodwin, St. Johns and Lyme-Old Lyme elementary schools.

November 2018

Several members of the Rotary Old Saybrook distributed a total of 225 dictionary books to all third grade students and teachers at schools in Old Saybrook (St. John School, Goodwin School), Westbrook (Daisy Ingraham School) and Lyme-Old Lyme (Lyme Consolidated School, Mile Creek School). In addition to the usual dictionary material, the books also contain information regarding governmental, historical, geographical and scientific areas. This was our 17th consecutive year of the club's participation in this program under the sponsorship of "The Dictionary Project" organization of Charleston, South Carolina. The Rotary Club provides these books free of charge to the schools.

Charlie Norz gets the Dictionary Program started for 2018

3rd Graders, teachers and Rotarians at Daisy Ingraham School in Westbrook

Charlie Norz started this program

Rotarians preparing the dictionaries for distribution