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Books to treasure . . . Gleniti School Year 4 pupils (from left) Jacob Barron (8), Ollie Erskine (8) and Olivia Weaver (8) explore one of the dictionaries donated to them by South Canterbury Rotary clubs. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

by Alexia Johnston

A project that has been the definition of success across all South Canterbury classrooms is under review.

The future of the district’s combined Rotary Clubs initiative to put a dictionary on the shelf of every year 4 child in South Canterbury will be determined by the proposed review over the coming months.

What the pupils think

The Courier asked Gleniti School pupils what they like about their new illustrated dictionaries, following news the popular Rotary Clubs community project is to be reviewed. PHOTOS: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

Maddison Beeby (8), who enjoys the book, said her mum and dad enjoy reading it too. Photo: Alexia Johnston

 

Bella Gresham (8) said it was fun to look at the colourful pictures.
Alex Sprague (9) said he liked to use the book to read about sports.

 

Colton Sparkes (9) said he uses the book to find out new words.

Despite the project’s popularity, Rotary plans to investigate if the books are still in demand and if they still have a place in the classroom as technology becomes an increasingly popular learning tool.

Rotary Club of Timaru publicity officer Lionel Wilson said a review was completed five years ago.

The response then was positive, he said.

“The overwhelming feedback we got back was to continue them,” he said.

“That was from parents, teachers and pupils.”

The review will determine whether or not that same attitude and need were still there.

If so, the project would continue next year, Mr Wilson said.

“In the last four years there’s been a lot more iPads being used in schools, so we don’t want to provide something that’s not valued.”

So far, the project has cost the Rotary Clubs of South Canterbury a combined $50,000.

All children in year 4, across all school deciles, each get one of the dictionaries, which is theirs to keep.

“They have their name in the inside of their dictionary.

“They go with them wherever they are. It’s not the property of the school.

“Why we did that is it gives the year 4 [children] ownership of their book and for some young ones it’s a new experience.”

The project was established in 2010.

Back then, Mr Wilson was not sure how successful it would be.

“I had doubts,” he said.

However, 37 schools from as far south as Glenavy up to Mt Cook Village and Carew Peel Forest jumped on board.

The project has never been restricted to lower decile schools.

“We have never done that. We’ve always covered the whole of South Canterbury.”

The next review is likely to take place over the next couple of months.

A decision will then be made on whether to keep the project going for another two years.

“We don’t mind them having the tablets and technology. It’s just that [we want to make sure] those that need [a dictionary] get them,” Mr Wilson said.

“There might be some schools that say ‘no, we’ve gone completely electronic’.”

However, that would not necessarily be the complete end of the dictionaries.

“We’ll make a decision on whether we did [a project] that’s more dedicated to specific schools instead of right across the board.”

Gleniti School principal Steve Zonnevylle was among those hoping the project will continue.

“It’s definitely worthwhile. We love it and the kids love it,” he said.

“It’s great to have something physical in their hand.”

Mr Zonnevylle said the books, published by Usborne, were used regularly by the children.

Some of the children received their book about a month ago, an event which was always an “exciting occasion”, he said.

“We really hope that they continue. They do a great job for the community and this is a great way to help out the schools as well.”