OPINION: Print still sharp for these youngsters

KNOWLEDGE: Zahlia Hampton and Juliana Sefo from Te Waka Unua School love their dictionaries.

Ferrymead Rotary has been supply pupils at Te Waka Unua School with printed dictionaries, writes Barbara Crooks

If you’re one of those who thinks printed dictionaries aren’t cool any more, you need to talk to the year 4 children at Te Waka Unua School.

They love them. And they use them to build many skills, says teacher, Bebe Wards. They are used as class sets and take-home books.

The children are excited when asked to find a word, she says, and like the games around looking up words and their meanings, especially finding how many meanings there are for a particular word. This also helps with their spelling.

Knowing the alphabet is a must when looking up a word in a dictionary, so the children are taught tricks to speed up the process – such as looking at the top of the page for clues about the words on that page.

These are all useful skills that can be transferred to electronic devices as the children progress to higher levels where technology is more plentiful in classrooms.

Ferrymead Rotary has been supplying these dictionaries to several schools in the Bay Harbour area for many years. Every year club members have a discussion about the value of the dictionaries and whether or not they have been superseded by electronic mediums.

However, Mrs Wards says the printed versions are a resounding success with her class. The children are delighted with the dictionaries, which are stacked with colourful pictures and small stories about animals, places, and events.

Dictionaries are subsidised for year 4 students in low decile schools by the Bill and Lorna Boyd Trust. Bill Boyd, a New Zealander, was president of Rotary International, the international body of Rotary which covers more than a million members in more than 200 countries. Ferrymead Rotary picks up the rest of the tab.

•Ferrymead Rotary meets at Speights Ferrymead every Tuesday at 5.45pm.

•For information, phone Kai Tovgaard 384 9485 or Roger Chapman 384 1300.