Eleven million adults in the United States are not literate in English. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14,504 adults in South Dakota speak English "less than very well." The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that 59,722 adults in South Dakota lack basic prose literacy skills.


In recent years, the South Dakota Literacy Council and many local literacy councils have ceased operations.



 Our research and surveying of local students tell us that 42% of students want to improve their ability to read to their children and help with homework, and 37% of our students wish to improve their ability to read healthcare information.

The Literacy Council of the Black Hills experienced a 107% increase in the number of students tutored between 2014-2016. From 2014-2016 our number of students tutored more than doubled (30 to 62) or grew 38% from 2015 to 2016 (46 to 62).


We have trained tutors ready to help increase the literacy rate in the Rapid City area. They donate thousands of hours every year.


Our students work with their tutors to set personal goals such as improving their communication with their children's teachers or getting a driver's license or a job. 




From Council-wide initiatives like our Cookbook Project to continuing education for our tutors in our quarterly Tutor Talks, we continually seek to improve our program and respond to the needs of our students.


Our conversation classes were developed as a result of student requests.

The Council seeks to connect with other community organizations and institutions focused on literacy in order to implement worthwhile projects and spread awareness of learning opportunities.

Cash donations are always needed for:

  • curriculum materials

  • student/tutor coordination services

  • tutor training manuals

  • community outreach materials

   You can donate online at our website, Facebook page, or by mail.

Dear volunteer tutors and students of the Literacy Council of the Black Hills:

The health, safety and education of our students and families is of the utmost importance. The leadership team and program coordinator are working on our preparedness and taking every measure and precaution to limit the impact on our literacy community.

We understand that as volunteers, you are under no obligation to follow our recommendations, but we want you to know that we do want to protect the community at large. Therefore, we recommend the following steps:

1) During this uncertain time, instead of meeting face-to-face, explore using Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, online resources, etc. to continue learning.

2) Board meetings are now taking place over zoom

3) Here are links to additional information:

South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH)


Center for Disease Control (CDC)