A unique literacy project focusing on Oakland’s third graders, attending primarily under-resourced schools.
Since early 2012, Volunteering For Oakland has made Dictionary Day one of its signature projects.
VFO has received generous grants from local non-profit organizations such as the Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, the Oakland Berkeley Association of REALTORS Community Foundation Grant Program, the Rogers Foundation, as well as donations from individuals. With these funds, we purchase up-to-date Dictionary/Gazetteers from the National Dictionary Project in South Carolina to give to third grade students in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The students themselves become the proud owners of these reference books. VFO Dictionary Day volunteers spend thirty-five minutes with each class, exploring the new dictionaries.
Each academic year, VFO volunteers typically distribute more than 2,000 dictionaries to at least 30 OUSD schools. For example, during the 2017-2018 academic year, 36 schools were served with 2,328 students receiving dictionaries. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 31 schools and 2,106 students were served. Prior to the shut-down for COVID-19, 28 schools participated in Dictionary Day and 1,720 students received dictionaries in the 2019-2020 academic year. OUSD staff, led by Curtiss Sarikey, OUSD Chief of Staff to the Superintendent, distributed 1,470 dictionaries and scavenger hunts to third graders on behalf of VFO in the 2020-2021 academic year. In the 2021-2022 academic year, as schools transitioned to in-person learning, VFO provided nearly 700 dictionaries to 30 classrooms at 11 schools. VFO is optimistic that our dictionary distribution can increase each year until we reach our previous standard of over 2,000 dictionaries distributed each year.
Please consider donating or volunteering for Dictionary Day. It just takes 2 hours to change your community, whether that’s each week, each month, or just periodically. Volunteering with Dictionary Day is a wonderful opportunity for those who might have just a few hours to spend and who want to share in the education of third-graders in an exciting and fulfilling way.
Make a donation
Make this the year you commit to a cause that truly helps your community and that adds value to your life, too!
keep them until we go to college.
Thank you for the dictionary. I love it a lot.
I look for presidents and the American flag and other stuff to plot.
Thank you really very much. I will use it for vocabulary and such.
I will bring it home and read it to my parents. They will love it very much!
your time to get them. We will use them with respect and kindness.
Thanks again. You are going to make our third graders very happy!!