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Prime Time approach to family literacy

April 30, 2011
The Alpena News

Families are falling in love with books at Alpena County Library, thanks to a new program called Prime Time is Family Reading Time.

Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank said the program helps families support their children's reading efforts, and gets the whole family involved in lifelong learning.

"As a librarian, I'm always interested in programs that focus on literacy and involve the whole family," Magness-Eubank said. "Children who see the adults in their lives enjoying a book or reading a newspaper usually turn out to be good readers themselves. This program supports our goal to build a reading community."

Prime Time sessions meet once a week for six weeks, and are attended by the whole family: mom, dad and siblings attend together. Since families are pressed for time, the program also includes a meal.

"We're asking for a commitment from the families," said Cathy Green, project scholar. "We want them to make time for this every week for six weeks, so we want to make it easy. Offering dinner gets the evening off to a good start and gives everyone a chance to reconnect after the day of school and work, and then everyone is ready for a story."

Children's Librarian Mary Clute points out that the program targets children ages 6 to 10, but the littler children aren't left out.

"If the family has children younger than school age, we have special activities for them, so they don't have to get a sitter. The little ones do crafts and read stories of their own, so it's a nice benefit to the whole family," said Clute.

Families interested in signing up for the next session should contact Clute at 356-6188.

The program is sponsored at 13 libraries in Michigan through a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council. "We are grateful to the Humanities Council for their support in making this program available," said Magness-Eubank. "We couldn't have done it without the support of our local business community: Pizza Hut, Spicy Bob's, Dairy Queen, Family Video, Thunder Bowl Lanes, Northern Lights Arena and The Alpena News have all made donations to the program."



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