Literacy Council of the Black Hills, giving the gift of literacy

Literacy Council of the Black Hills provides free, confidential, one-on-one tutoring to adults and teens in basic reading and writing skills, as well as English language learning.

The famous Dr. Suess was quoted as saying “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

And in today’s society, if someone can’t read, it can limit your experience, like getting a job or just getting around town. That’s where the Literacy Council steps in to help.

Joseph, Jin and Sol at Public Library

Joseph, Jin and Sol at Public Library

Jin Washington helped at a Literacy Council in Omaha when she found her passion for helping others learn to read. She continued her work in Rapid City because she feels like the mission is important.

Jin Washington, Literacy Council of the Black Hills, Program Director, says,  “I fell in love with it, before that I didn’t know so many people are illiterate, and so I just really felt it was important to help people to read better and because I love reading.”

Literacy Council, Tutor Handbook

Literacy Council, Tutor Handbook

The Literacy Council is an all-volunteer, nonprofit that serves immigrants, or English as a second language students from over 10 countries as well as (American) teen and adult students. Tutors and students typically meet once a week for an hour. Each student has an individualized plan – some may need help with passing a driver’s license test and some help writing a term paper.

Joseph Philhower didn’t finish high school and decided to go to the literacy council after being referred by the Career Learning Center, with a goal to finish his GED.

Joseph Philhower, Literacy Student, says, “My reading level is high; I have to just try to adjust to get the level up in a way where – of importance to literacy.”

Sol (Tutor) and Joseph (Student)

Sol (Tutor) and Joseph (Student)

Sol Smith has been tutoring Joseph for about a year and says he has learned a lot while tutoring including patience and learning a different perspective.  

Sol Smith, Literacy Council Volunteer, says, “Personally in think it’s really important to try to go out of your way to get out of your own comfort zone, and there is so many different people in this community that I wouldn’t interact with normally. And I think it’s really important to kind of overcome your own I guess inhibitions or limitations and really challenge yourself to welcome everyone not the community.”


Literacy Council of the Black Hills is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported in part by the United Way since 1991. Literacy Council of the Black Hills trains volunteer tutors who provide free instruction in reading and writing skills to adults and teens. The organization began in 1984 by the American of University Women and the Altrusa Club.

Click here for more information on the Literacy Council of the Black Hills. Check them out on Facebook too. The Literacy Council e-mail is

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