As soon as Brookfield Rotary Club members handed out dictionaries to third-grade students at Brookfield Elementary School, teachers told the children to write their names in the books.

Unlike textbooks and library books, these dictionaries are not property of the school.

“They get so excited when we tell them, ‘It’s yours to keep,’” Jean McKenzie, secretary/treasurer of the service club, said of the students.

Tuesday’s giveaway was the 10th annual at Brookfield Elementary, McKenzie said.

“This is a really great program every year. The kids look forward to receiving their dictionaries,” said Jessica Zebroski, kindergarten teacher and acting principal. She was subbing for Principal Stacey Filicky, who was at a conference Tuesday.

The dictionary giveaway originated in 1992 in Savannah, Ga., and was formalized three years later when the Dictionary Project was incorporated as a non-profit. Many service groups signed on to give away dictionaries in their towns. The Brookfield Rotary raises money to buy the dictionaries, McKenzie said.

The third-grade is targeted because children of that age typically move to a higher level of reading ability, according to the Dictionary Project’s web site.

“It promotes literacy and gives the students their own dictionary they can use,” Brookfield Rotary President Ellwood Walker said of the giveaway.

Zebroski said students are allowed to use the dictionaries in class for certain projects.

Photos by Joe Pinchot/News on the Green

Photos show Brookfield Rotary Club’s Jean McKenzie handing a dictionary to Malia Dungee; Landri McLaughlin, left, and Aaliyah De La Paz; and Steven Gonda, left and Brady Tarpenning.