SOURCE: California Dictionary Project

January 17, 2007 21:45 ET

HEROES Partners With the California Dictionary Project to Distribute Dictionaries to Oakland 3rd Graders

OAKLAND, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 17, 2007 -- HEROES, the volunteer placement program for the Oakland Unified School District, today announced the 5th annual Dictionary Day Event, which will take place on Thursday, January 18th. Thanks to the generous donation of 4,000 dictionaries from the California Dictionary Project, HEROES is recruiting volunteers to enter 3rd grade classrooms across the district to distribute the dictionaries and spend time playing word games with students.

"More than half (53 percent) of California third graders currently read below national grade level and we are reaching students at a time when they are beginning to develop the critical research and writing skills that are a crucial part of their learning and education," said Barry Graynor, President of the California Dictionary Project. "We believe that the dictionaries not only assist the students in their daily studies but also help them develop a sense of ownership and pride in something that will assist them in setting the stage for a successful academic career."

Fruitvale Elementary is one of 32 schools participating in the event and will be hosting a luncheon to honor The California Dictionary Project. Principal Cherie Ivey explains, "I often hear, 'Who needs a dictionary? You can look up anything you want on a computer.' Most of our third graders do not have unlimited access to a computer. The gift that the California Dictionary Project is providing of a dictionary to every Oakland Unified third grader puts a tangible reading and writing aid in our students' hands that they will use daily. It is a such a powerful thing to do."

Dictionary Day is one of three literacy events HEROES organizes each school year. More than 3,500 English dictionaries and 500 English-Spanish dictionaries will be distributed to 3rd grade students throughout the Oakland Unified School District this month.

A special thanks goes out to the Barrios Trust, the Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Charitable Foundation, and the Oakland Athletics Community Fund for their support of this project.


HEROES (Helpers Engaged in Reaching Oakland's Excelling Schools) is the volunteer placement program for the Oakland Unified School District. HEROES' mission seeks to enhance the quality of educational experience for Oakland students by promoting volunteerism within the community. The HEROES program connects organizations and individuals directly with Oakland's youth in an effort to support students as they strive to become productive and successful members of the community.

About The California Dictionary Project

The California Dictionary Project ( is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, headquartered in San Francisco, California. Its mission is simple and focused: to donate and distribute dictionaries annually to third-graders in California public schools. Funding comes through donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Except for incidental expenses, all of the money donated to California Dictionary Project is used to purchase low-cost paperback dictionaries that are then distributed annually to students in California's public schools. Since its founding in 2002, California Dictionary Project has distributed over 50,000 dictionaries to Bay Area students.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Michele Hayes
    Program Director
    121 E. 11th St., Port 13A
    Oakland, CA 94606

    Phone: (510) 879-2908
    Fax: (510) 879-2909
    Email: Email Contact