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BOBBY ARDOIN Editor/Contributing Writer

When it comes to counting the number of words several St. Landry Parish public school students are currently reading, calculators are definitely required to tabulate the progress.

Five elementary and middle school students — including four attending Palmetto Elementary — have evidently been diligently attacking the written word.

By the first week in March the students who are using the parish wide accelerated reading program, had cumulatively read more than an estimated 10 million words.

Each of the students who have already read a documented one million words each, were recognized during the beginning of the monthly St. Landry Parish School Board meeting.

Emma Moore, Analise Popps, Kane Coburn and Evan Jones of Palmetto Elementary and Abiri Semien who attends Cankton Elementary, were honored individually by parish school officials.

Semien and Moore had already read three million words each this year. Semien is already closing in on another one million-word milestone in addition to the two million she has read already.

Popps has become a two-million-word reader, while Coburn has read a million words and attained a perfect state performance score of 850 in Science, according to Palmetto Elementary principal Lindsey St. Cyr.

Jones, who enrolled in fifth grade at Palmetto Elementary in November, has already read one million words after St. Cyr said Jones became “intrigued” and began engaging the AR program.

St. Cyr also told board members and administrative staff that her students have gone “above and beyond” what is expected of them in the classroom, especially with regards to their affinity for reading AR-approved books.

Palmetto, St. Cyr added, requires students there to earn AR reading points in fifth and sixth grades every during each nine-week grading period.

That amounts to reading 150,000-200,000 words read per school year, St. Cyr said.

Popps has read two million words, while Coburn has additionally met the million-word challenge for a second straight year.

In addition to his perfect science score, St. Cyr said that he has also received perfect scores in English-language arts and mathematics.