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LPSS and Kiwanis Club partnership encourages children to read more

The more they read, the bigger the chance to win a new bike.
Bike in library
J. Wallace James Library
Posted at 6:19 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 23:42:57-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Kiwanis Club of Lafayette and the Lafayette Parish School System are forming a partnership to hopefully get children to read more books.

The goal of the program is to incentivize students in a new way, amid the pandemic. Normally, librarians and school staff would encourage children to read with promises of free pizza or dance parties, but because of new restrictions, these parties aren't an option.

The Kiwanis Club of Lafayette is stepping up to donate prizes, such as new bicycles, at each of the 25 schools in LPSS. To be eligible to win, the students must do the following:

  • Earn points by reading books
  • Read books at an appropriate level on the Accelerated Reader scale (determined by the school)
  • Receive an 85% or above on the quizzes they take after reading

Paula Graffeo, librarian at J. Wallace James Elementary, says students can even have multiple entries, depending on how well they perform with their goals.

But besides awarding prizes, Graffeo says there's a bigger plan.

"I just hope they take away a love for reading, that's my focus. To get the right book in the hands of the right child, at the right time, and I really hope they get a love for reading from it," said Graffeo.

This is the first time that the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette has participated in the Accelerated Reader program; club members even stepped up to personally donate money to make sure every school received two bicycles, for a total of 50 system-wide.

"The feeling is really going to hit in May when we are here, and we see the kids get excited. That's a feeling that you can't match. We call it the Kiwanis moment, and that's what drives us to do what we do," said Brett Bayard, member and chair of this initiative.

For more information about the program or to donate to the project, you can reach out to rewards4reading@lafayettekiwanis.org.

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