November/December 2013

Miranda Restovic
Shantrell Adams
Associate Director

Christopher Robert

Assistant Director


Adrienne McFaul, Ph.D.
Assistant Director

Tara Zapp
Assistant Director
Faye Flanagan
Senior Consultant 
Holly Bell, Ph.D.
Education Consultant


Deatrice Green
Special Projects Coordinator
Michael Sartisky, Ph.D.

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LEH Launches New Teacher Professional Development Initiative 
Forty Educators Receive Training 
Through Partnership 
with Caddo Parish Schools



In 1991 the LEH set a bold target for its new program, PRIME TIME Family Reading Time: erase Louisiana's persistent pattern of intergenerational illiteracy. Implemented across Louisiana, as well as in 42 states, PRIME TIME continues to deliver results, winning several awards including the Public Library Association's 2003 Advancement of Literacy Award, and The Coming Up Taller Award.  


Today this nationally-recognized methodology reaches the classroom.  On October 5, after more than two years of research and development, PRIME TIME welcomed approximately 40 educators and school administrators from five partner schools in Caddo Parish to the first PRIME TIME HomeRoom � teacher professional learning workshop. Teachers walked away with CEU's, a guide for implementation, a book, and most importantly, increased skills in employing the Socratic method in the classroom. One participant shared:


 "I have learned how to improve my classroom discussion with regard to the content of the books. I am still working on letting go of the control of the classroom. I want great discussion, but want students to listen to one another."


Read the Oct. 5 Workshop evaluation results here.


Already this new program has earned the endorsement of the Louisiana Department of Education under the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy initiative and is now offered to partner school districts and charter management organizations as part of a suite of PRIME TIME programs which are all humanities-focused and methodologically aligned. For more information on PRIME TIME HomeRoom �, visit

PRIME TIME Provides Nearly 1,000 Gift Books for Home Libraries 

PRIME TIME Family Reading Time puts high quality children's literature into the hands of families. Gift books have always been a component of the program, with up to 25 books supplied to each site for participating families. Now PRIME TIME is helping families start their own home libraries through gift packets containing a copy of one book from each session. Families who come each week finish the program with up to 7 brand new books to read with each other at home. 


In spring 2013, PRIME TIME put 981 books in the hands of participants of PRIME TIME Preschool, along with 450 gift books that went home with families who attended PRIME TIME Family Reading Time. That's a total of 1,431 books for Louisiana families! Across the state, families are reading, discussing, and bonding at home with PRIME TIME-selected books rich in humanities content such as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, and The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. 


stiriving readers PRIME TIME offers schools and school systems the opportunity to enhance school-family relationships while improving student academic achievement.  As our most recent Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) partner, the DeSoto Parish school system has embraced this opportunity.  


From 1998 to 2006, PRIME TIME Family Reading Time programs were implemented at 9 locations in DeSoto Parish, including three programs in partnership with the school system.  This school year PRIME TIME returns with enhanced offerings through one PRIME TIME Family Reading Time and two PRIME TIME Preschool programs in fall 2013.  Enrollment for these programs is open to families at two schools as well as a Head Start center in Mansfield.  Additional programs are planned for spring 2014.


"DeSoto Parish is excited to partner with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and PRIME TIME Preschool and PRIME TIME Family Reading Time.  As a recipient of a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant, our goal is to advance the literacy achievement of students in our schools.  We are looking forward to the opportunity to promote literacy in family oriented programs with the help of the LEH. Our teachers just went through training with the LEH and are ready to get started with our fall programming.  We'll soon be seeing the excitement of students and parents reading books and engaged in literacy activities. Thank you, LEH and PRIME TIME for this great opportunity" stated Sheila Clark, SRCL Project Director for the DeSoto Parish School System.


On August 28th and 29th the PRIME TIME staff and consultants journeyed to DeSoto Parish to offer training to 20 preschool facilitators, scholars, and storytellers.  The DeSoto teams are ready for implementation and PRIME TIME looks forward to renewing our partnership and serving the families of DeSoto Parish.

PRIME TIME Parents Are Storytellers Too! 

As part of PRIME TIME's partnership with Firstline Schools in New Orleans, several area parents will train as storytellers and help facilitate programs during Spring 2014.  The opportunity to become a PRIME TIME storyteller was open to parents who previously attended PRIME TIME at their school.  During a two-month process interested parents submitted applications, attended PRIME TIME programs throughout the city, and met with PRIME TIME and Firstline staff members to discuss and learn more about the program. 


At a January 2014 training workshop, parent storytellers will prepare to implement these new skills at their children's schools.  Let's hear from the parents!  


Heather Laskos; John Dibert Community School

"Our family first found out about PRIME TIME when we moved from Michigan to New Orleans. John Dibert School was conducting a fall session in 2012 and we signed right up. Reading has always had a strong emphasis in our house, but as the kids grew older we moved on to chapter books. PRIME TIME helped reignite our love of shorter books while focusing on discussion revolving around the week's meeting. During the next session of PRIME TIME, in fall 2013, we were reading Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse and I thought how easy it would be to make a cookie mouse that matched the illustrations. From that week on I brought cookies to our group that matched one of the books for the week. When the opportunity arose to apply for a storyteller position, I jumped on it. I've always had a love of children's literature and I've always tried to share that, so this would be one more opportunity to do that."


Mary Webb; Langston Hughes Academy

"This is our third year participating in PRIME TIME, it has been such a neat experience for my family. I love books, and it's a passion I've instilled in my children, especially the discussion surrounding them. To be honest, the English teacher in me has yearned to be the one up their reading the stories and directing the debate. So when I was approached, as a parent, about being a storyteller, I jumped at the opportunity."



Each parent participating in this project brings the uniquely enlightened perspectives of parents and recent program participants.  We know they will serve as wonderful leaders and inspirations to other parents at upcoming programs. 

PRIME TIME Preschool is featured in the New Orleans Advocate!
Through a three-year partnership with Baptist Community Ministries, the PRIME TIME Preschool pilot project is serving families in Orleans Parish this fall.  The New Orleans Advocate took notice in an October 30th article, "PRIME TIME is the Right Time for Parents and Children to Read." Reporter Kimberly Singletary spoke with parents, students, and program directors at one site: 


It's 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday - a time when most families with children are just getting home, kicking off their work and school clothes, turning on the television and settling in to make dinner.


At McMillian's First Steps, a childcare center and school on South Claiborne Avenue, 17 preschoolers and their families have joined together for the next 90 minutes with one goal in mind - share the joy of reading.


Read the full article here. Congratulations to the PRIME TIME staff, Baptist Community Ministries, and our partners in New Orleans!


Developed in Louisiana, PRIME TIME continues to serve as a national model, with humanities organizations, educators and communities in other states eager to learn from its proven methodology. Along with its programmatic achievements, PRIME TIME continues to innovate through its emphasis on program evaluation strategies and best practices.


On Saturday, Nov. 9th, three members of the PRIME TIME staff facilitated a panel discussion at the National Humanities Conference, the annual meeting of humanities councils and the NEH, hosted this year in Birmingham by our friends at the Alabama Humanities Foundation.


The panel, "Lifting Us Up with Data: Strategies for Evaluating Humanities Programs," addressed a pivotal question:  How do you put a value on the humanities? Staffers Miranda Restovic, Shantrell Adams, and Adrienne McFaul demonstrated PRIME TIME's usage of sophisticated data to explain the impact of our work to the invaluable partners who support PRIME TIME in Louisiana and across the country.  


The session was filled with nearly 45 participants who eagerly posed questions and offered comments related to evaluating and proving the impact of humanities programs.  The resulting conversation was spirited and worthwhile.  The staff hopes to continue to explore relevant evaluation strategies with our colleagues throughout the nation.


nullThe next PRIME TIME Family Reading Time Training Workshop is scheduled for January 18 - 19, 2014 at the Louisiana Humanities Center at Turners' Hall in New Orleans.


PRIME TIME trainings include an intense review of the program methodology, as well as practice of strategies for planning and implementing the program.


Affiliate project directors should begin considering whether any team members will need training and prepare to alert the PRIME TIME staff via online Affiliate Data Forms by Monday, December 2, 2013. Louisiana and affiliate trainees will receive preliminary details on the training in mid-December.  


While training workshops are only open to team members who are affiliated with an upcoming program, we welcome inquiries from others about the program, its methodology, and the structure of the training workshops.  Such inquiries should be directed to the PRIME TIME staff