Read across South Dakota challenge brings the state along for a ride

(Rapid City) – Black Hills Reads of United Way of the Black Hills and multiple organizations, businesses, and individuals hit the (figurative) gas pedal in an effort to “Read Across South Dakota”. The Read Across South Dakota Challenge is designed to get people excited about reading.

Black Hills Reads is collecting cumulative “miles” to help “race” across South Dakota. Starting in Rapid City, the figurative “book mobile” will travel around the state until it loops back to the starting point. For every 100 books read, the “book mobile” will move one mile. Plus, there will be opportunities to earn bonus “miles” by completing different tasks or challenges on Black Hills Reads Facebook Page.

The figurative car departed from Rapid City, and in one month, 1,816 participants have read 16,360 books (including bonus books). This equals 163.6 ‘miles’ driven, approaching Presho on 1-90.

“Black Hills Reads has had tremendous success getting children and organizations involved through other challenges and events like Race to …this challenge aims at getting all of South Dakota involved. We want to share this enthusiasm and see what achievements we can make as a state.” says Kayla Klein, director of Black Hills Reads.

Some organizations have been having a blast with this reading challenge, and specifically participating in the bonus challenge. Marty Willms of Northern Hills Federal Credit Union in Sturgis has been consistently posting pictures of fun and unique ways their employees are reading throughout the community.

"I first heard about this challenge when Kayla Klein presented the idea to the Sturgis United Way Board of which I am a member. Northern Hills believes in giving back to our communities. The challenge was a wonderful opportunity for our staff to provide a service to our communities while having some fun with team building projects. During the month of February our staff will be reading at elementary classrooms and during the Toddler and Preschool Story Hours at the Sturgis Public Library. Our staff is fortunate to have the ability to read and what a wonderful way for us to share that gift with others," said Willms.

Any school, community organization, business or individual in South Dakota that would like to challenge their community or organization can be involved. The challenge will conclude on March 2nd, which is Read Across America Day. For more information on how to get involved, please visit the Black Hills Reads Facebook Page, or contact Kayla Klein at (605) 343-5872 or

About Black Hills Reads

Black Hills Reads is a United Way of the Black Hills education initiative. The overall goal is to help children reach reading proficiency by third grade and support partners in this process. Black Hills Reads addresses reading through five pillar areas: School Readiness, Healthy Readers, Successful Parents, School Attendance, and Summer learning. Black Hills Reads accomplishes these goals by providing advocacy for educational programs, offering pilot programs, special events and innovation grant opportunities.