BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana will receive a more than $55 million federal grant to help improve the reading and writing skills of its students.

The state education department announced Tuesday that it is one of 11 states chosen by the U.S. Department of Education to receive the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant.

Louisiana will receive $18.5 million a year for three years. The state has received a similar literacy grant in previous years.

Superintendent of Education John White says only 36 percent of Louisiana’s children read and write on grade level by fourth grade.

The grant money, according to the state education department, will be doled out to public school systems that submit applications with specific literacy plans approved by the department.