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NCompass Live: Nebraska Libraries Host Prime Time Family Reading Time


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Prime Time Family Reading Time is an innovative family reading program designed for low-income families in communities where student reading scores do not meet Nebraska state standards. The six-week program is hosted by local libraries and led by a storyteller and a discussion leader. Since 2005, when the Nebraska Library Commission funded student interns to work with Prime Time, bilingual student assistants have contributed to the programs while also learning about library work. Erika Hamilton, state coordinator of Prime Time, Nebraska Humanities Council Program Officer, will share her experiences in encouraging parents and children to read award-winning illustrated children’s books, to recognize and discuss humanities topics in the stories, and to become active public library users.

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NCompass Live: Nebraska Libraries Host Prime Time Family Reading Time

  2. 2. PRIME TIME <ul><li>is a 6 week humanities-based storytelling, reading and discussion program held at libraries, schools and other public venues. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What does Prime Time look like? <ul><li>Discussion over real-life issues presented in each book </li></ul><ul><li>Library commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Door prizes </li></ul><ul><li>Check out books for next week </li></ul><ul><li>Begins with a meal </li></ul><ul><li>Comments from special guests </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive reading & storytelling </li></ul>
  4. 4. Since 2004, Nebraska has completed 62 Prime Time programs in 15 public libraries, 5 elementary schools and 2 community centers in 13 communities. Nebraska ranks 4 th nationally in the number of Prime Time programs completed.
  5. 5. Target Audience <ul><li>Communities where student reading scores do not meet state standards </li></ul><ul><li>Low-income families / beginning literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Families with grade-school children who are at risk for low reading skills </li></ul><ul><li>Infrequent / non library users </li></ul>
  6. 6. Addressing a need: <ul><li>Nebraska is one of 13 “new growth” states. </li></ul><ul><li>ELL in Nebraska grew by 227% between 1995 & 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>(Source: Education Magazine 2009 report) </li></ul><ul><li>64% of immigrant children have parents who struggle with English. </li></ul><ul><li>40% have parents who never finished high school. (Source: Kids Count in Nebraska 2009 Report) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Graduation Rates ( Nebraska ): </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>53.8% for Hispanics/Latinos </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>47.4% for Blacks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>35.2% for American Indians </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>84.5% for Caucasians </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Source: Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2007 report) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Prime Time Goal: Introduce Families to Reading <ul><li>Encourage parents and children to bond through reading and learning together. </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate to parents how they can read aloud to their children. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Teach families how to discuss important issues together by using storybooks as a backdrop. </li></ul><ul><li>Teach families how to select books. </li></ul><ul><li>Foster a love for reading and transform children and parents into active readers. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage high academic expectations and achievement. </li></ul>
  10. 10. A chance to talk about real-life issues <ul><li>such as: </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness </li></ul><ul><li>Greed and generosity </li></ul><ul><li>Determination </li></ul><ul><li>Courage </li></ul><ul><li>Kinship and loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>Dreams </li></ul>
  11. 11. Results: “After participating in Prime Time , do you read with your child more often?”
  12. 12. Results: “Has Prime Time changed the way you and your child read and discuss books?”
  13. 13. Prime Time Goal: Introduce Families to Libraries <ul><li>Focus group in South Omaha: “Are Latinos afraid to use the library?” </li></ul><ul><li>Parents said YES </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Afraid of not being understood </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Libraries are SAFE <ul><li>Latino parents are suspicious of government buildings. </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians become approachable, familiar mentors. </li></ul><ul><li>Families realize that libraries are safe places to go. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Libraries are FREE <ul><li>From countries where libraries are not free and are for the elite. </li></ul><ul><li>Families don’t realize they can go into libraries and check out material for free. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Results: “Has Prime Time changed your family’s attitude towards the library?”
  17. 17. PRIME TIME Essential Components <ul><li>Multiple sets of books </li></ul><ul><li>Storyteller & Discussion Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Preschool coordinator for younger siblings </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Nutritious meals and door prizes </li></ul><ul><li>Publicity materials </li></ul><ul><li>Certificates </li></ul><ul><li>Site support manual </li></ul><ul><li>Training workshops & idea exchanges </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Storyteller <ul><li>Has a broad knowledge of children’s literature </li></ul><ul><li>Comfortable working with non-traditional audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates replicable storytelling and read-aloud techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Is comfortable sharing the stage (and audience) with a scholar </li></ul><ul><li>Is a good listener </li></ul><ul><li>Likes to have fun ! </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Discussion Leader <ul><li>Has an advanced degree in a humanities field </li></ul><ul><li>Is eager to transmit a love of reading and talking about books </li></ul><ul><li>Is comfortable working with an intergenerational at-risk audience </li></ul><ul><li>Is comfortable asking open-ended questions </li></ul><ul><li>Is a good listener </li></ul>
  20. 20. Site Coordinator Roles <ul><li>Plan, prepare and host the programs </li></ul><ul><li>Network with community agencies and compadres to recruit participants </li></ul><ul><li>Recruit volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce the library resources </li></ul>
  21. 21. More Site Roles <ul><li>Provide a staff member to serve as coordinator </li></ul><ul><li>Provide nutritious meals and door prizes </li></ul><ul><li>Arrange transportation for families who need it </li></ul><ul><li>Identify a preschool coordinator </li></ul><ul><li>Identify other team members as needed </li></ul>
  22. 22. Student Intern <ul><li>For public libraries </li></ul><ul><li>55-60 hour internship </li></ul><ul><li>High school or lower-level college student </li></ul><ul><li>Help prepare and evaluate Prime Time </li></ul><ul><li>General library work </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage minority students to consider a library career </li></ul><ul><li>An “insider” to Prime Time ’s target audience </li></ul><ul><li>Recruit families </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly reminder phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>Greet at check-in </li></ul>Community Liaison
  23. 23. Volunteers <ul><li>Can help with: </li></ul><ul><li>Book bag circulation </li></ul><ul><li>Registering participants </li></ul><ul><li>Donating and preparing food </li></ul><ul><li>Preschool program activities </li></ul>
  24. 24. Prime Time Statistics <ul><li>100% of families who attend Prime Time at libraries have library cards by the sixth week. </li></ul><ul><li>Before attending Prime Time in 2009, 31% of the families reported that they used the public library 3 or more times per month. Ninety days after Prime Time , that statistic jumped to 62%. </li></ul><ul><li>98% want more family activities like Prime Time . </li></ul>
  25. 25. What families say about Prime Time … “ I realize that the library is a place where we can find the best way to share our time and feelings as a family.” - South Sioux City “ I thought it was more difficult to go to the library and boring and already I have learned more about the services that they provide here.” - Lincoln
  26. 26. “ I’m at a loss for words. All I can say is thanks.” - Grand Island “ My child is more open to ask questions and see the story from different points of view. She imagines more than before.” - Gering
  27. 27. What site coordinators say about Prime Time … “ Many members in our audience have fairly few outlets for getting together with other adults. Between working several jobs or caring for children at home, they don’t have so much opportunity for social things. Also, the kind of conversation that Prime Time promotes is pretty unusual – I think the adults enjoyed that.” - Lincoln “ We finished our program last night. I am so happy with the way it went and can’t wait to participate again. It was wonderful!” - South Sioux City