Prime Time Family Reading Time, a free family literacy program designed to strengthen participants’ interest and skills in reading and talking about books, began last week and will run every Saturday morning through November at two Omaha Public Library branches: the South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St., and the Charles B. Washington branch, 2868 Ames Ave. Aimed at children ages 6 to 10, the events begin at 10 a.m. with a light breakfast, then continue with storytelling and discussions centered on notable children’s books. It’s more than just a storytelling event — the program is aimed at helping parents and children cultivate a love of reading and discussion. Selected books are chosen to help families discuss themes such as compassion, responsibility, greed, fairness, determination and loyalty. Though there will be information available regarding the library’s services, it’s not a literacy program. “We’re not showing participants how to read, but why — for enjoyment, for insight, for conversation,” said NHC Senior Program Officer Erika Hamilton, state coordinator of Prime Time. “We look at situations in books and ask, ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘Has this happened to you?’ ‘What would you do?’ This kind of analysis is important in the classroom, in the workplace, and in life.” It’s apparently working. In a 2009 survey of more than 85 Nebraska families who participated in the program, 88 percent said they now spend more time reading as a family, and 91 percent said the program improved the way they read and discuss books together. All the respondents said they’d participate in the program again, or similar family reading and educational programs. The program at the South Omaha branch began last Saturday and will run through Saturday, Nov. 6; all of its sessions are bilingual. The Washington branch is English only, begins this Saturday, Oct. 9, and will run through Nov. 13. For more information, go to either of the branches in person or visit omahapubliclibrary.org. Comments? Questions? Want more? Check out our Booked blog online at thereader.com. Or email us at booked@thereader.com.


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