Prime Time Reading program set to launch in Thibodaux

The Thibodaux Recreation Department and the Thibodaux Rotary Club have joined force with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to host a family literacy program called Prime Time Family Reading Time.

The program, which begins in February 2008, will be held at the Martha Sowell Utley Memorial Library in Thibodaux.

Funding a program this size in the parish will cost $5,000. The library is lining up volunteers to serve as storytellers.

“This is a wonderful program that targets children ages 6 to 10 who may be experiencing difficulty with reading, and their parents, in an effort to help foster a lifelong love of learning through reading,” said Thibodaux Mayor Charles Caillouet. “We are grateful to the Rotary Club for bringing this program to our attention and offering a portion of the financial resources needed to get this program off the ground and operational.”

The six-week reading series includes themes like fairness, greed, courage, cleverness and determination. A discussion leader or a storyteller will introduce parents to the benefits and pleasures of reading and discussing stories with their children, according to Allison Clark, Lafourche’s Prime Time library coordinator.

“Prime Time introduces families to the pleasures and benefits of reading together and the many resources and services of the public library,” she said in a news release.

The program’s aim is to create “family together time” in the parish, she said.

“Prime Time gives families an opportunity to come together away from their regular hustle-and-bustle settings helping parents, who may need to improve on ways to assist their children with reading comprehension,” she explained.

Program coordinator Ron Alcorn, who is also the Thibodaux Recreational Department director, said the average number of families participating in the Prime Time program is 25. However, the program is stepping up to include 60 families.

“We are looking at targeting 60 families, but if we can’t do that then hopefully we can get half of that,” he explained.

To get those 60 families, the program is targeting three grade schools in the area: South Thibodaux Elementary, Thibodaux Elementary and W.S. Lafargue Elementary schools.”

The program was brought to the city’s attention by Olivia Pass of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Pass did a presentation for the Thibodaux Rotary Club, whose main target is literacy.

Once the recreation department got word of the program and joined forces with the Thibodaux Rotary Club, Prime Time locally was on its way. Alcorn said this opportunity is the first time two private entities will host a literacy program in the parish.

“Even in the recreation department, reading is a form of recreation. You just don’t have to be athletically inclined to say that you are doing something recreational. You can also read and educate yourself,” he said.

Rotary President Woody Falgoust said 28 percent of the adults in Lafourche Parish cannot read a street sign.

“It’s high time we reverse that statistic. Rotary is pleased to work with the city to help improve literacy in our community by participating in this exciting family program,” he said.

The collective hope is that Prime Time will attract people to reading.

“The program will foster a lifelong love for reading. The mayor was behind the program 150 percent, and he also said it is a wonderful thing for the community,” he explained.

Alcorn will go through extensive training given by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. He will coordinate community involvement, recruiting and help find locations and volunteers, according to Caillouet.

“We would love to see more sponsors in the different areas of our parish so that the parish library system, along with the state Endowment for the Humanities, can continue to host programs to improve literacy within the parish,” Clark said.