Prime Time Family Reading Time

Led by a storyteller and discussion leader, underserved children and their families meet in public libraries, elementary schools and other community venues to read and discuss award-winning children’s books. Discussion encourages critical and analytical thinking, helps develop connections between storybooks and real-life situations, and, in the bilingual program, encourages Spanish-speaking parents to speak and read English.  Pre-school activities are offered separately for younger siblings.

Five  different Prime Time formats are available, each specifically designed for:

  • African-American families
  • Native American families
  • Bilingual for Spanish-speaking families
  • English-only for a diverse, multicultural group of families
  • Preschoolers and their families

Watch a 2-1/2 minute video about our Prime Time program now.







Since 2002, this award-winning program has encouraged families to consider reading and education as a fun and important part of their lives. Approximately 6,000 Nebraskans have participated in one or more of the 130 bilingual and English-only Prime Time series held throughout the state in 16 public libraries, 12 elementary schools and 3 community centers in 15 communities statewide where student scores in reading do not meeting Nebraska state standards.

Prime Time Works

A 10-year impact study, published in 2010 by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, found that students who participated in Prime Time Family Reading Timeduring 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.

In a survey of Nebraska families who participated in Prime Time within the last four years:

  • 87% said they spend more time reading now as a family
  • 89% said the program improved the way they read and discuss books together
  • 98% showed interest in participating again in Prime Time or similar family reading and educational programs

Erika Hamilton, Nebraska state coordinator of Prime Time, explains the goals, process and impact of Prime Time in a recorded online session. To view the 63-minute session, click here.

Prime Time Family Reading Time was created in 1991 by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities ( Thanks to partial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Prime Time has been offered in 40 states.

Prime Time Family Reading Time is made possible by:


Peter Kiewit Foundation
Sherwood Foundation
Carol Gendler



The Johnny Carson Foundation Fund at the Nebraska Cultural Endowment










NEH Head Says Humanities Funding Still A Question Mark

National Endowment for the Humanities Acting Chairman Jon Peede was in Omaha re