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BHSU Reading Council gives out annual Celebrate Literacy awards

Amy Rice-Hoffman, education coordinator at Spearfish Regional Hospital, accepts the Celebrate Literacy Award from Dr. Joanna Jones, assistant professor in the College of Education and advisor of the Black Hills State University Reading Council. Each year the BHSU Reading Council has an opportunity to recognize groups and individuals who assist the organization in supporting literacy within the community.

The Black Hills State University Reading Council recently recognized two groups and three individuals who assist the organization in supporting literacy within the community.

The award for an institution that enhances literacy went to Spearfish Regional Hospital. The hospital has partnered with the BHSU Reading Council and the Paha Sapa Reading Council in Lead-Deadwood to distribute book bags to mothers of newborn babies. The bags included a book for the family to share with the baby, information about child growth, and a list of recommended books to be read during early childhood.

The award for an organization on campus that enhances literacy went to the Black Hills Association for the Education of Young Children (BHAEYC). During the year, BHAEYC provided multiple opportunities for their membership to work with children in developmentally appropriate activities. The BHSU Reading Council also appreciated their assistance with the Kiddie Carnival during Swarm Week.

John VanVlack received the award for someone who was outside the profession of teaching that enhanced literacy. During the year, the BHSU Reading Council studied literacy activities that could be implemented when teaching the seven continents of the world. John VanVlack, father of Lily Bruckner, senior elementary education major from Rapid City and BHSU reading council member, provided the members with an opportunity to better understand Antarctica. Mr. VanVlack, who lives in Rapid City, works in Antarctica for half of the year. Through a slide presentation, Mr. VanVlack brought new insights for understanding the continent of Antarctica.

Within the profession, the BHSU Reading Council recognized two professors, Dr. Len Austin, associate professor in the College of Education, and Dr. Joanna Jones, assistant professor in the College of Education.

Austin teaches Educational Psychology and Child Growth and Development. Through his class, students are invited to participate in education at a more professional level. He encourages all of his students to become involved in professional organizations. Each semester, Austin provides the BHSU officers with opportunities to present to the students in his classes. Through his assistance, the BHSU Reading Council has grown to almost 150 members.

Jones, retiring as the advisor to the BHSU Reading Council, was recognized for her five years of work with the organization. Jones helped the officers to prepare the materials for each meeting and provided leadership concerning the many paperwork requirements for a student organization. The BHSU Reading Council is an affiliate organization of the South Dakota Reading Council and the International Reading Association.

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