Louisiana Department of Education Adds Prime Time to Help Districts With Family Engagement and Literacy
As part of the Louisiana Department of Education’s efforts to improve literacy outcomes across the state, the department has recently added Prime Time’s suite of family literacy and engagement programs to their approved list of Family Literacy Support vendors.
With more than 30 years of success delivering humanities-based, family-focused literacy education programs, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time programs will offer proven programs to help school districts engage families and build literacy skills.
“We know that student success starts and flourishes with active engagement with loving adults in their lives. LDOE’s emphasis on family engagement in improving literacy outcomes for all students directly aligns with how we approach humanities education for both children and adults,” said Shelley Stocker, vice president of education programs. “Being approved as a vendor in this work will allow us to bring our proven, turn-key programming to new district partners, and build stronger connections and expand efforts with previous partners. We are excited for the ways these partnerships promise to benefit the children, families, and educators of Louisiana.”
Prime Time is offering school districts the following programs:
- Prime Time Family Reading and Prime Time Preschool: Prime Time’s core family reading programs promote family bonding and interaction around carefully chosen children’s books and the discussion of the themes found within them.
- HomeRoom: Training is available for both educators and families in Prime Time’s method of using participant-centered instruction, open-ended questioning and collective learning strategies to promote discussion among respectful and diverse audiences.
- Spark Box: The fun of a Prime Time reading program is also available in a box for families to take home. Spark Boxes contain children’s books to build families’ home libraries and a Grown-Up Guide to assist caregivers in guiding discussion of the books, as well as additional learning materials.
The Louisiana Department of Education earlier this year announced it was launching an initiative aimed at sparking a reading revival across the state. The Louisiana Literacy initiative provides system leaders, educators and families with practical tools and resources, such as those provided by Prime Time, to support children on their literacy journey.
“The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities created Prime Time in 1991 specifically to promote literacy and family engagement across Louisiana, so we are thrilled that the Louisiana Department of Education has recognized the importance of this work,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “We look forward to the opportunity to partner more directly with the teachers and administrators who can make the biggest difference on a daily basis to improve literacy outcomes across our state.”
School districts interested in bringing a Prime Time program to families can contact Stocker at [email protected] for more information.
NEH Grant to Support Prime Time’s Development of Bilingual Book Series
Prime Time, Inc., has been awarded nearly $200,000 that will be used to further expand its programming for Spanish-speaking families.
The grant was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is providing $87.8 million in funding to nearly 300 cultural and educational institutions to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, retain and rehire workers, and reopen sites, facilities, and programs.
Prime Time, a subsidiary of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, will use the grant for the retention of staff members to develop and deliver a bilingual book program around the theme “A More Perfect Union,” encouraging literacy and civic engagement among families with young children. Community members will also be given the opportunity to provide input on the series’ development.
Prime Time developed “A More Perfect Union” in 2016. The book series included children’s books whose themes connected to the Preamble of the Constitution to help reinforce families’ civic knowledge. Since then, more than 1,500 Louisiana families have engaged with the series.
The book series will be offered in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street exhibit Voices and Votes at Louisiana sites in fall 2022. It will also be offered as a PRIME TIME Spark Box, which is a take-home version of Prime Time’s award-winning reading programs in a box filled with books that families can use to build their home libraries, a discussion guide for adults and other learning materials.
To extend the reach of this project, Prime Time will also make the bilingual series available to all national affiliate partners who implement the Voices and Votes exhibit, extending access to rural audiences in several states.
Prime Time Mails Spark Boxes to 29 Agencies in Louisiana
Twenty-nine organizations across the state of Louisiana have been chosen to partner with PRIME TIME, Inc. to distribute Spark Boxes to families in their communities.
Prime Time Inc. received 82 requests for more than 1,800 Spark Boxes during the two-week application period, the highest number of applications ever received.
“When combined with Prime Time Family Reading and Preschool programs, Prime Time will serve 35 parishes in fall 2021,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “We are thrilled, not only because these family reading programs are becoming so popular, but because more reach means more families are gathering together to build those all-important early literacy and critical-thinking skills that will set the foundation for future learning.”
Each Spark Box contains books to build families’ home libraries, additional learning supplies and a Grown-Up Guide for caregivers that provides support for discussion and activities for at-home implementation of Prime Time’s humanities-centered methodology.
Spark Boxes are made available at no cost to partners and families.
“We are so excited to work with community distribution sites across the state to get Prime Time Spark Boxes in the hands of families. By partnering with organizations that are already embedded in their communities, families can access available Prime Time Spark Boxes from trusted resource providers and we at Prime Time and the LEH are able to assist community partners as they seek to increase their marketing capacity and reach,” LEH Vice President of Education Programs Shelley Stocker said. “This partnership serves Louisiana families and the community organizations that work with them day in and day out.”
Made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Beaird Family Foundation and the Boh Bros Centennial Fund, Spark Boxes are based on LEH’s 30-year intergenerational reading and discussion program, Prime Time Family Reading.
Prime Time Introduces Spark Box
Community organizations are invited to help spark a love of reading, fire up imaginations, and bring books into the homes of families in their communities by signing up to distribute Spark Boxes provided by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time Family Reading Program.
Made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Beaird Family Foundation, and the Boh Bros Centennial Fund, Spark Boxes are based on LEH’s 30-year intergenerational reading and discussion program, Prime Time Family Reading.
Each Spark Box contains books to build families’ home libraries, additional learning supplies, and a Grown-Up Guide for caregivers that provides support for discussion and activities for at-home implementation of Prime Time’s humanities-centered methodology.
Formerly known as Prime Time First Aid Kits, Spark Boxes were originally developed in response to the historic flooding in Baton Rouge in 2016 as a way to share the Prime Time Family Reading program when meeting in person was not possible. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that 40 percent of Louisiana students still lack reliable access to the Internet, have further reaffirmed the importance of children having access to books at home and how discussing the humanities themes found in those books can help during times of crisis.
The LEH will distribute 300 boxes to program sites statewide at no cost to programs and families.