By Dena Martin
The Times 

Prime Time Family Reading fosters family engagement


March 14, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Prime Time Family Reading Storyteller Roz Edwards discusses the oral tradition.

Nationwide program aims to improve family engagement and student academic success

DAYTON – Dayton Memorial Library's first Prime Time Family Reading event, on March 6, was a great success with 60 people and 19 families in attendance. The nationwide program strives to build thought and conversation between children and families through reading.

Prime Time Family Reading is a six-week program funded through a grant from Humanities Washington and is free to participants. Each evening begins with a group dinner, which is catered by Dayton General Hospital.

"The great thing about dinner is that, not only do attendees get to eat here, they all get to take a dinner home," said Dayton Memorial Librarian's Assistant Charlie Oribio. "The dinners not only model healthy meals but we really want to emphasize the benefit of dinner around the dinner table and the benefits of dinner with a group."

After dinner, children five-and-under, head downstairs for reading and crafts while parents and older children remain upstairs.

Upstairs, Storyteller Roz Edwards and Humanities Scholar Sarah Reser tag team by modeling strategies for making reading more involved at home, discussing how to get more out of reading, and answering questions.

"Sarah and Roz will model strategies such as how to ask questions. Rather than asking yes/no questions, she will ask how or why something happened or what the child thinks will happen next," Oribio said.

After reading and discussion, families are sent home with bookbags of three books to read together during the week. They will discuss the titles at the next week's gathering.

Oribio said the grant requires that at least 15 families attend each gathering and that it is not to late to register. Humanities Washington provides a $20 Safeway gift card to families that attend at least four meetings as a participation incentive. Community Organizer Sarah Ortuno did a great job at getting the word out, Oribio said.

Oribio said the library is grateful for the volunteers that helped with set up, serving food, working with younger children and tear down, and said volunteers are always welcome.

"I want to give a special shout-out to Lois Hemphill who is one of our Friends of the Library members. She makes cookies and desserts for many of our events. When she heard about this one, she stepped right up. This is such a big program, that we're especially thankful for her donation," Oribio said.

Prime Time Family Reading meets each Wednesday, except April 3 during spring break, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Delany Building. There is no charge and dinner is included. Families may register by calling the library at 382-4131.

Courtesy Photo

Families take time to socialize between dinner and reading time.


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