What’s Right With Our Schools: Community Read program increases students’ literacy and brings community together


LAURENS COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Laurens County residents are getting involved in students’ learning.

They’re dedicating time out of their day to give teachers a helping hand. students at susie dasher elementary are reading more than ever before!

Third grader Lagen Wilcher says, “I like to read because it makes you smarter.”

Thanks to people in the community, students are picking up books with no hesitation.

Ronda Walker is a teacher at Susie Dasher. She says, “We saw a very big need to improve our literacy.”

So the community read program was initiated, hoping to build literacy skills and shape students to become better readers. A community volunteer comes in every week and reads to a child for 30 minutes.

Walker adds, “We have people from churches, chief of police comes in, we have people from banks, we have retired teachers.”

The schools’ community readers say the time spent working with kids is very important.

“It makes me feel great because working with them is not only making me feel good but it’s helping our future,” says Angela Blount who is a community reader.

The community read program strengthens students’ reading skills, and community readers believe having that one on one time builds students’ character as well.

Willie Blount is also a community reader. He says, “I think he feels more comfortable with me if he mispronounces something and I just correct him, I think he feels a little bit more at ease one on one than in the classroom where they may not feel as comfortable.”

Herschel White has been working with 3rd grader Talen Parks on his reading. Since white started working with him, he noticed Talen’s attitude is positive towards learning.

“He’s a fine young man. He obviously has good teaching at home and he’s bringing it to school and I just want to keep that going and add to that the best I can,” White says.

Talen adds, “I feel great about him helping me and I feel real special.”

By getting that special attention from the community and supporting teachers is what’s helping our future leaders. Students are assigned readers based on their progress inside the classroom. Susie Dasher Elementary is still looking for more readers. Call (478) 353-8250 if you’re interested.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 303 Karlisha Booze joined the 41NBC news team in October 2013 as the producer for 41 TODAY. A year later, reporting for Channel 17, the Bibb County School District channel, was added to her responsibilities. Born and raised in Macon, Karlisha is proud to be in her hometown doing what she loves to do. Karlisha's passion for news began in elementary school where she anchored the school's morning news and got an opportunity to try out for the Junior Journalists at WMAZ. She also performed in commercials with Kids Voting Georgia, for Bibb County and Cox Communications. Prior to working at 41NBC, she was a news intern at WGXA and was later hired as a production assistant and worked as a fill-in anchor/producer for the station's morning news broadcast. Karlisha graduated from Middle Georgia College in 2009 with an Associate of Arts (Communications), from Fort Valley State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications), and from Ashford University in 2014 with a Master of Arts (Organizational Management). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate focusing on Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and spending time with family and friends, especially her son, Ka'Dence. If you have any story ideas, please pass them along!