Top readers at Ralph Wilson Elementary awarded bikes - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Top readers at Ralph Wilson Elementary awarded bikes

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Read a book, get a bike. Collectively, the students at Ralph Wilson Elementary read more than 8,000 books. The top 40 readers were awarded new bikes.

"I read 108 books. It took me a little while," said Nicholas Lemelle, 10 years old.

"I read 108 books," said Anna Pearson, 11 years old.

"I read 70 books. My favorite book was 'A Box Can Be Many Things.'" said Jalayzha Perry, 7 years old.

With an escort by Lake Charles Police, the students paraded their new bikes around the block, as teachers, parents and community leaders cheered.

"It surprised me when I heard my name called for a bike. I read 145 books. So, it just surprised me," said Ahman Mitchell, 10 years old.

It shows that hard work pays off and that the more you read, the more you learn.

"By reading... you get smarter, and then when you get smarter, you can be lawyer or a teacher and teach other people the things that you have learned," said Chazlynn Williams, 10 years old.

The initiative has not only made the students fall in love with reading, but helped improve the school's reading scores.

"I think they are going to hit the ground running next year. I think that if parents send their kids here... They are going to get a great education," said Willie King, school volunteer.

"The more they read, the more we celebrate them. We know that if they are a good reader... We know they will be successful in the future," said Wynetta Proctor, Ralph Wilson Elementary Principal.

The students will tell you their immediate future not only includes a lot of riding, but some summer reading.

"I'm going to ride my bike around the block with my brother and read some more books," said Haley Johnson, 10 years old. 

The bikes were made possible by more than 20 community sponsors.

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