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READ receives award for achieving Certified Literate Community Status
READ board members receive a framed certificate for achieving Certified Literate Community Status. - photo by Allie Dean

Earlier this month READ Dawson received a certificate for achieving Certified Literate Community Status.

After identifying the literacy needs in Dawson County, the organization was able to reduce the illiteracy rate of Dawson residents by 50 percent within 10 years. Along with the certificate, there will also be road signs placed showcasing the accomplishment of becoming a Certified Literate Community.

The READ organization, established in 2004, worked with Lanier Technical College to analyze literacy needs in Dawson County. READ created an awareness of these needs, and with the help of Sue Tennant, worked with local businesses, churches, social services, the Dawson School System  and local government offices to reach, influence and support those who wanted to improve their education.

Today READ continues their efforts to reach those in Dawson County. READ works in conjunction with the Adult Education Center of Lanier Technical College to provide assistance to those who wish to obtain their GED, but lack the resources to do so.

READ not only serves the adults of Dawson County but also serves the students of Dawson. For many years, third graders received their very own dictionary through partnerships with BB&T Bank and many others. Many of these students consider the receiving of the dictionaries a "rite of passage."

With the introduction of the iPads for students in the schools, this program is changing and READ will be funding a Literacy Application for third graders beginning in the 2018 school year.

Eighth graders had their own "rite of passage," receiving Thesauruses to aid in writing and help with word choice while taking the Georgia Writing Exam. This standardized test was replaced by the Georgia Milestones test and READ continues to work with the school system to find a way to help our eighth graders.

READ makes all the assistance possible through fund-raising, with two big fund-raisers per year. The organization hosts a European Pheasant Shoot in the fall and a Murder Mystery Dinner in the spring. In February, they also have a mailing campaign called "Friends of READ."

READ is always looking for those passionate about literacy to serve on its Board of Directors. If you would like to be a part, please contact Keely Chalk, Secretary, at or call (706) 265-1690 for more information.