In recent years the term illiteracy has been used to describe the condition of people unable to cope with printed materials relevant to their needs.
In the 1950s, the inability to read and write was not in itself detrimental to achievement but, in our increasingly technological society, illiteracy usually limits employment and advancement.
There is today, more and more diverse and complex kinds of matter to read, and people are obliged to read more if they are to keep up with the changes taking place in our world - business, bureaucracy, the law and changes affecting medical insurance. Illiteracy not only prevents people from functioning fully in their communities, but also exerts an influence on national priorities and the use of human and material resources.
Here in Dawson County, the challenge of illiteracy as referenced above, is being met aggressively by the professional staff of the Dawson County Adult Learning Center and its cadre of volunteer teachers and mentors. With the active promotion of free GED classes, the number of GED completer's continues to grow.
Also, R.E.A.D. Inc., a collaborative organization with community, government, schools and business leaders, actively supports the Adult Learning Center.
R.E.A.D. helps provide volunteer teachers and mentors for the center and is, also an essential source or financial assistance for GED test fees and teaching materials. R.E.A.D. is well on its way to meeting the established state criteria for Dawson County to become a "Certified Literate Community."
The benefits of literacy is not simply restricted to the direct effects of being able to elicit information from the printed word - from street signs, news and media sources, tax forms and so on. Psychologists have long asserted that literacy can change the way a person thinks.
The proposition is that the ability to use the written word allows an individual to consider the world in ways that an illiterate person cannot conceive. For instance, a literate person will be able to vote by himself/herself during elections; but more importantly the person can regard the whole voting exercise differently to a person that needs assistance when voting.
Thank you, Dawson County, for your continued support of R.E.A.D. and its challenge to raise the level of literacy in our county.