Parkersburg Elks purchase, donate dictionaries to Wood County schools

Photo Provided Fairplains Elementary School teacher Jennifer Byers, left, along with her daughter and third-grader Laiken Byers, center, hold up copies of “The Best Dictionary for Students,” donated to all Wood County third-graders by Sherry Dugan, right, and other members of the Parkersburg Elks 198. The organization donated more than 900 dictionaries to area schools.

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Elks 198 delivered more than 900 dictionaries to Wood County third-graders as part of a new literacy program.

The dictionaries were delivered Oct. 3 to schools throughout the county, said Sherry Dugan, former exalted ruler of the local Elks.

“The theme of the Elks is ‘Elks share, Elks care,’ “ she said.

Dugan said the local chapter received a grant from the national Elks to purchase and distribute copies of “The Best Dictionary for Students.”

“You should have seen their faces light up,” she said. “They were thrilled to have the books, and they get to take them home at the end of the year.”

The Elks’ Dictionaries for Kids program has served thousands of students nationally, but Dugan said this was the first year it has been done in Wood County.

“We’re already working on next year,” she said.

Dugan said the program is important not only to promote reading and literacy, but also to reinforce grammar and research skills.

The event is part of the Elks’ 150th-year celebration. The Parkersburg Elks also annually distribute scholarships to area graduating seniors.

Fairplains Principal Liz Conrad praised the Elks for the donation.

“It is such a wonderful program,” she said. “Many of our children have no reference books in their home. This is something not only they can use, but other members of their family as well.”

Conrad said the Parkersburg Elks has been a wonderful organization with which to work.

“The Elks are so generous to us,” she said. “The children were thrilled with the books. Though we plan to use them in the classroom, many wanted to take them home to show their families. They’re excited to use them.”