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. Here are recent totals before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and after transitioning back to classrooms:
2017-2018 academic year: 36 schools; 2,328 dictionaries to third graders
2018-2019 academic year: 31 schools; 2,106 dictionaries to third graders
2019-2020 academic year: 28 schools; 1720 dictionaries to third graders
2020-2021 academic year: OUSD distribution hubs provided 1,470 dictionaries to third graders
2021-2022 academic year: 11 schools; 700 dictionaries to third graders
2022-2023 academic year: 29 schools; 1,711 dictionaries to third graders
The last four years were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and transitioning back to in-person learning. VFO is confident and determined to return to previous distribution totals. Our goal is to provide a dictionary to every third grader in the Oakland Unified School District.
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!!