LSU Education Doctoral Student Awarded Grant for Literacy Event in Natchitoches

09/18/2012 02:12 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU School of Education doctoral student Debra Jo Gifford Hailey, a spring 2012 inductee into the LSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, or PKP, National Honor Society, was awarded a PKP Literacy Grant to support Reading on the River 2013.


Reading on the River is a family literacy event held on the downtown riverfront located in historic Natchitoches, La. Hailey developed and coordinated this family literacy event in her community as a response to research that indicates that children who have adults who read to them regularly, home support for reading and easy access to age-appropriate books are more likely to have continuous academic reading success than children who do not have those advantages.


“Kids who perform well in school not only pave the way to a brighter future for themselves, but businesses are attracted to communities with schools that perform well, and when businesses are growing, community revenues are growing, which benefits everyone,” said Hailey.


During the event, learning activities are provided under eight different canopies. Teachers and other professionals use developmentallyappropriate teaching methods to engage children and their parents in early literacy activities that entertain and educate. Reinforcement is given to help parents, so that they can easily mimic the demonstrated methods at home.


After participating in the literacy activities, the children are able to select a few age-appropriate books to take home with them. Local churches and businesses collect gently used books which are cleaned, sorted and displayed for distribution. At this year’s event, more than 1,000 books were donated to young children.


“I truly believe in what we are doing,” said Hailey. “Helping parents to realize the important role they play in their child’s learning and giving them easily accessible, usable tools and strategies for parenting success help children’s futures which, in turn, help the community’s future.”  


The LSU School of Education, one of the top 100 schools of education in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, offers 13 degrees in a range of areas from PK3-12 to higher education, special education, counseling and educational leadership.


For more information about the School of Education, visit


The LSU College of Human Sciences & Education consists of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education & Workforce Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School.


For more information about the College of Human Sciences & Education, visit

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012