Prime Time reading program offered at five Omaha venues

January 29th, 2013

Two elementary schools and three library branches in Omaha will offer Prime Time Family Reading Time this spring to families whose children, ages 6 to 10, struggle with reading.

Prime Time is a Nebraska Humanities Council family literacy program designed to help strengthen participants’ interest and skills in reading and talking about books. The six-week series is offered free to families in
neighborhoods where student reading scores do not meet state standards.

Spring Lake Magnet School will host a bilingual Spanish/English Prime Time series on Thursday evenings March 28-May 2. Gilder Elementary will offer bilingual Prime Time on Monday evenings April 8-May 13 at 5 p.m.

Omaha’s Willa Cather Branch Library will offer a Prime Time series for Native American families and others who want to participate. The program, designed around Native American themes, will be held Tuesday evenings Feb. 5-March 12 at 5:30 p.m.

South Omaha Library and Charles B. Washington Branch Library have offered the program twice a year since 2004. This spring, South Omaha Library will host a bilingual Spanish/English series on Monday evenings March 4 – April 8 at 6:30 p.m. The Washington Branch will host an English-only series on Saturday mornings Feb. 16-March 23 at 10 a.m.

Each program begins with a light meal and continues with storytelling and discussion based on award-winning children’s books. Pre-registration is requested, but not required to attend. Separate preschool activities will be available for younger siblings.

Since 2002, nearly 5,000 Nebraskans have participated in one or more of the 101 bilingual and English-only Prime Time series held statewide in 15 public libraries, 10 elementary schools and three community centers.

A 10-year impact study found that students who participated in Prime Time during their early elementary years outperformed their peers on grade level content in standardized exams. Prime Time students scored higher in language arts and reading, mathematics, science, life science and other subjects. The study, published in 2010, was conducted in Louisiana where the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities developed Prime Time in 1991.

In a 2012 survey of Nebraska families who participated in Prime Time, 89 percent said they spend more time reading now as a family, 88 percent said the program improved the way they read and
discuss books together, and 98 percent showed interest in participating again in Prime Time or similar family reading and educational programs.

Prime Time is sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Humanities Council with funding from the State of Nebraska, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Carol Gendler, and private donors. Sponsors for Prime Time in Omaha include the Omaha Public Library, Omaha Public Library Foundation, Friends of the Omaha Public Library, and Omaha Public Schools. Nebraska Humanities Council is a private, statewide, non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information or to register to participate, contact:

  • Spring Lake Magnet School bilingual program, Alice Gomez at (402) 734-1833 ext. 1019
  • Gilder Elementary bilingual program, Rosa Long at (402) 734-7334 ext. 1035
  • Cather Branch Library Native American program, Brianna Frank at (402) 444-4851
  • South Omaha Library bilingual program, Liliana Murillo at (402) 444-4850
  • Washington Branch English program, Joanne Ferguson Cavanaugh at (402) 444-4800

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