Prime Time program helps young kids learn to read

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Grand Island Public Library welcomed kids ages 3-5 to have a Saturday full of playing and learning as part of their Prime Time program. Sitting still and listening is hard for someone under the age of five but kids in the program can't get enough of the storytelling session.

“This is an opportunity to show how in a short time you can learn a lot about parenting and giving your children opportunities that they might not ordinarily have,” Facilitator Lisa Brown-Olsen said.

Prime Time is for families with kids who struggle with reading and other skills or want to get their kids ready for preschool. Kids are taught how to read, have sensory lessons, and shown how to communicate with their parents.

“It's not that parents don't want to have that relationship with their child, a lot of times they don't know any better,” Preschool Storyteller Maria Flores said.

Organizers say the lessons these young kids learn now will benefit them when they get into school. A ten year analysis of the prime time program shows kids who attend have a nearly 100% chance of improving on achievement tests.

Facilitators say it is important to start early with reading and communication skills development. They say some kids have a major transformation by the end of the six-week program.

“A mom and her son who was six, he was a kindergartner, came up to me at the end of the program and she said you know when we started this program my son didn't like school, he didn't ever read,” Brown-Olsen said. “Now he asks me to read and he likes to go to school. She said with tears in her eyes ‘I'm no fool, know what happens to young Latino men who don't finish high school.’”

The program is bilingual but people of all languages are welcome and included. The preschool program will meet Thursdays at 5:30 and the family program is Saturdays at 1:00. It will continue through mid-April.