PRIME TIME Family Reading Time
Rini Hughes | July 02, 2010
Editor’s Note: In case you missed it, this week we’re featuring blog posts on ALA Annual Conference programs. This entry focuses “PRIME TIME Family Reading Time: A Model Program for Strengthening Families & Building Communities,” designed to help programming librarians engage diverse, underserved neighborhoods of their communities through a family literacy program featuring humanities-focused content, quality children’s literature, techniques based on the Socratic Method, and collective learning.
Wow! Functional literacy for the whole family in six weeks? Sounds too good to be true, but the success stories shared during the session puts the lie to that notion. Four testimonials coupled with staggering statistics make PRIME TIME Family Reading Time a program any librarian with a passion for patron literacy salivate for.
Speakers for this program included Rhonda Butler, Public Libraries of Saginaw, children’s and teens services coordinator; Lainie Castle, ALA Public Programs Project Office project director; Anne Haimes, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, branch group manager; Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, director; and Thomas Phelps, National Endowment for the Humanities, director, Division of Public Programs.
The pilot program was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and was administered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. From a modest beginning in the 1980’s, the program grew to cover most of the parishes in Louisiana, and today is active today in 38 states and the Virgin Islands.
PRIME TIME’s goal is to foster a love of reading by teaching readers how to really understand what they are reading. Anyone who can “sound it out” can read the words, but there is a long and winding road between reading the words and knowing what they mean. The rewards are well worth the journey. PRIME TIME helps kids score better on assessment tests in ALL areas, not just language arts/humanities. And, along the way, their parents learn to read better and the families spend more time reading and just being together.
Find out more about this program and how to apply for a National Expansion Grant to bring PRIME TIME to your library.
Rini Hughes is student at Pratt Institute in New York; when she completes her degree in May 2011, she plans to work in family literacy.