Prime Time Reading Program Helps Grand Island Kids Improve in School

Grand Island — Prime Time Family Reading Time returned this fall to partner with the Grand Island Public Library. This 1st session was held at Lincoln Elementary School and the Grand Island Public Library. Each session of the six-week program was free and open to families and their children, ages 6 to 10, who struggle with reading as well as Preschool activities for children ages 3 to 5. Program­ming begins with a light meal and continues with storytelling and discussion based on award-winning children’s books.

Prime Time is a Humanities Nebraska family literacy program that helps strengthen participants’ interest and skills in reading and talking about books. A definitive 10-year analysis published by the creators of Prime Time Family Reading Time found that children who attend Prime Time show a 95-100% improvement on achievement tests in elementary school and 81% improvement on high school exit exams.

The series was bilingual with books read and discussed in both English and Spanish. The sessions were held at Lincoln Elementary School, Mondays Oct. 22 through Nov. 19 due to the library renovation. The sixth and last week was held at the Grand Island Public Library on Monday, Nov. 26. There were 15 families that took part.

All sessions were offered without cost to families thanks to generous statewide sponsors including the State of Nebraska, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Carol Gendler, and an anonymous do­nor. The Grand Island Program is also funded by the Grand Island Public Library, the Principal Foundation, and the Kaufmann-Cummings Foundation.

Since 2002, approximately 14,000 Nebraskans have participated in one or more of the 257 bi­lingual and English-only Prime Time Family Reading Time and Prime Time Preschool series held in 17 public libraries, 18 elementary schools, six community centers, one bookstore and one Head Start in 18 communities throughout the state.

Teachers who are interested in recommending families for Prime Time or families interested in taking part should contact the Grand Island Public Library and ask to speak with Prime Time coordinators Celine Swan or Kim Mettenbrink at 385-5333. For more infor­mation about Prime Time, visit the Humanities Nebraska web site,  and select “Prime Time” from the programs list.

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