Louisiana ranks fifth in the country for the lowest literacy rate at 72 percent.
Jennings Elementary promoting literacy, not just for students, but parents as well with a Literacy Night on Thursday, March 2nd from 6pm to 7pm.
I truly believe that reading to fundamental--FUNdamental," Stacey Dickens, assistant principal of Jennings Elementary, said."It's the basis for everything else that we do. If a student cannot read then we cannot be successful in anything else later on."
Uriah Rochelle, a sixth grader at Jennings Elementary, is one of those students who found his path to success as the top Accelerated Reader with over 200 points.
"The good ones are the ones that I read. If you go to the Rick Riordan books, those are all high points and they give me a lot," Rochelle said. "That's how I got to 200."
He does not want to stop there, Rochelle would like to continue earning points until the end of the school year.
"It took me awhile to find out what I like," Rochelle said. "If you like one type of book you can go to that section and read all of those, if you start to not like it you can go to another section. It's not a rush, you can keep going...there's no rush to find out what you like."
Second grader Madison Cezar hot on the heals of Rochelle with 76 AR points.
"I work fast, well not fast, but go through it and I get to do AR when I finish my work," Cezar said. "My favorite books are Black History."
It is stories like these that bring a smile to the faces of Librarians Linda Anthony and Mary Spell.
"Just seeing, for me, when I see them excited about making a 100 on their AR test or when they get their name on the race car," Spell said.
"Just the excitement when you're reading a book," Anthony said.
While it is not always easy to get kids interested in reading, both women say it is their job to help find that one book or series that opens up the imagination.
"I try to find and introduce different ways to get them excited," Spell said. "I tell them, you don't like to read because you don't know what you're interested in."
"For me, I have the Little's," Anthony said. "I try to pick books that I read with lots of expression and excitement. They love the popup books, so every time I see one I put it in the cart and my husband rolls his eyes. All I have to say is guess what I found now, and they say 'A pop up book!' It gets them excited."
With a few months to go in the 2022-2023 school year, both Rochelle and Cezar will continue to push forward and see how many words they can read by the end of the year.