We as families get so caught up with our busy lives that carving out a few minutes of reading together is challenging. While computers, internet and smartphones have made life easier and tasks faster, these devices are severely affecting the reading habits and bonding time for families and children.

To address this crisis in a fun and delicious way, Whitman County Library is offering a new program this fall called “Prime Time Family Reading.” Sponsored by Humanities Washington, the program is a unique, outcomes-based literacy program that audiences find interesting, engaging and fun.

Humanities themes and discussions are led by a scholar and a storyteller. Together, they transform children’s literature into significant, relatable and thought-provoking subjects appealing to parents, children and individuals of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Created in 1991, Prime Time’s methods are proven to generate long-term improvements in students by transforming families into individual and collective communities that continue to read and learn together long after the program ends.

Why is reading together as a family important? Parent involvement is shown to be the top predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, stimulates early brain development and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.

As children grow, reading together is still important. The dedicated bonding time improves your child’s confidence and communication skills and gives them a much needed break from screens and electronic gadgets.

I hope you’ll join us at the Colfax Library for Prime Time Family Reading. The program is designed for families with children ages 6-10, and free childcare will be available for younger family members from 3-5 years old. This free reading program with dinner runs for six consecutive weeks from 6-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 17, 24, 29, and Nov. 5 , and 14.

Prime Time Family Reading is presented in partnership with Whitman County Library and Jennings Elementary School. Space is limited so register by Sept. 30 by contacting community organizer Sara Golden at saralynn.golden@yahoo.com or Nichole Kopp at the Colfax Library (509) 397-4366.

Sheri Miller is the youth services manager at Whitman County Library.

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