VERMILLION, S.D. -- Thanks to an endowment from Robert “Bid” and Jonette “Joni” Miller of Sioux Falls, S.D., to The University of South Dakota’s Reading Recovery Training Center first grade students will have help in overcoming reading difficulties.
The endowment provided for remodeling and furnishing a reception room for Reading Recovery and will provide annual scholarships to Reading Recovery Teachers and Teacher Leaders. In recognition of the Miller’s generosity, Room 123 in the Delzell Education Center was named in honor of Jonette 'Joni' Miller, a former elementary school teacher. Her husband, Robert, is a Sioux Falls businessman.
A plaque commemorating "The Jonette 'Joni' Miller Room" was unveiled during a ceremony at the Delzell Education Center on the USD campus. Debra Boerner, a Reading Recovery teacher-leader from Winner, S.D., was also presented with a scholarship – the first such recipient from the endowment.
"Reading is one of the greatest ways for a child to develop self-esteem," noted Robert "Bid" Miller, a businessman from Sioux Falls. "If they conquer that, they can conquer anything."
The Reading Recovery Training Center at USD, now in its 11th year, is one of 22 training centers in North America according to Garreth Zalud, Ph.D., Reading Recovery Trainer. Several teachers and teacher leaders from the USD program attended Tuesday’s ceremony where they had an opportunity to observe a Reading Recovery lesson “Behind the Glass” and tour the new Miller Room.
Features of the Miller Room include a reception area, a desk and an activity station for children. Prior to having the room available for their needs, children in the Reading Recovery program often had to wait in the hallway before meeting with a Reading Recovery Teacher or Teacher Leader.
"It didn’t seem like a safe or a comfortable place to wait," said Linda Reetz, Ed.D., interim dean, School of Education, "that was the brainchild of this room. The more welcoming our facility is to children, the better."
A photograph of the Millers is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Miller_Room.jpg. For more about Reading Recovery at USD, please visit http://www.usd.edu/ed/ci/reading/readingrecovery.cfm.