Lindenwood University-Belleville Associate Professor of Education Leadership Dr. Stephanie Yearian was recently honored with the 2018 Jerry Johns Reading Educator of the Year Award by the Illinois Reading Council at its annual conference in Peoria.

yearian stephanieThe Jerry Johns Reading Educator of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding teacher who makes significant contributions in promoting literacy among students, colleagues, and school communities, according to the Illinois Reading Council website. The award winner receives a monetary award, an engraved plaque, a personalized banner, and recognition at the annual Illinois Reading Council conference.

Yearian was nominated for the award by the First Baptist Academy in O’Fallon, Ill., fourth-grade teacher and former Lindenwood Belleville student Sharon Ray, Tracy Keilbach, parent of a student at Mascoutah Middle School, and the late Dr. Steve Suess, former chair of the Education and Counseling Division at Lindenwood Belleville.

“Since 2010, Dr. Yearian has served … at Lindenwood University-Belleville, where her major deployment revolves around reading and literacy pedagogy,” wrote Suess in his nomination letter. “In addition to teaching reading methods classes, reading analysis classes, reading practicums, and reading in the content area classes, she [piloted a new course called] Content Literacy for Diverse Learners, [and] each summer, Dr. Yearian Directs Camp Lynx Tales, which is a summer reading camp designed for university students to employ reading methods by tutoring struggling readers from the community.”

Beyond her impact at Lindenwood Belleville, nominator Jackye Biehl, administrator from the First Baptist Academy, said Yearian has worked with that school to provide one-on-one instruction to struggling readers in the Opportunity for Academic Restoration (O.A.R.) program.

“Stephanie has an exciting classroom that engages students to think deeply while reinforcing comprehension, oral reading fluency, and phonetic foundations, and does it all with excellence,” said Biehl. “Without a doubt, she is one of the most skilled and creative teachers I have had the pleasure of working with over my years at the First Baptist Academy. That is clearly seen in our test results where one grade 5 student moved from the eighth percentile in September to the 24th percentile in January, and all of our O.A.R. students have shown improvement across the board. She takes teaching very seriously and always strives to do her best.”

Likewise, according to Keilbach, whose daughter received tutoring to assist with her reading skills, Yearian gave her daughter the tools she needed to enhance her reading ability.

“[My daughter] has gained a new appreciation for reading and has flourished in the classroom because of the relationship she has with Dr. Yearian,” said Keilbach. “I have been so impressed with the confidence [my daughter] has gained through the tools Dr. Yearian gave her. [She] just finished reading an entire book without complaint. We are so grateful to have had this experience with Dr. Yearian.”

To learn more about the Education Programs at Lindenwood University-Belleville, visit www.lindenwood.edu/belleville/academics/undergraduate/.