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Humanities Now Blog

News and Highlights from Arizona Humanities

Families Bond Over Books in Scottsdale

First PRIME TIME program of 2014 completes at Tonalea Elementary School
Is there something that your best friend can do, but you can’t? Have you ever had a dream that felt so real, you thought it was real life? What would you do if you lost everything you owned?

PT - Tonalea IMG_0403Those were just a few of the questions that sparked discussion at the PRIME TIME family reading program in Scottsdale last month. Families from Tonalea Elementary School came together for an evening of reading and talking about books. First, everyone started by eating a meal together. School and library staff mingled and chatted with families, getting ready for the evening. After a few short announcements, everyone sang to the storyteller, Jared Stewart, a loud and vivacious “Happy Birthday!” for his special day.

PT - Tonalea IMG_0413Families dispersed to two different areas. Preschool aged children, 3-5 had their own room with activities geared toward their age group. Different activities included: reading the book Fish is Fish, singing, art, science, crafts, and acting out the stories.

Older children and parents settled in the library to read together and talk about the books they had read at home. The first, Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni tells the story of two friends, a fish and a tadpole who learn about their differences when the tadpole becomes a frog and leaves the pond. After hearing frog’s fantastic stories about all the creatures he sees, fish tries to breathe outside of water and is ultimately saved by the frog.

PT - Tonalea IMG_0421During the story and after, questions were raised about how each of us has different abilities. One young girl shared how her best friend can do a hand stand, and she can’t, but that was okay because her friend is really good at doing handstands. One parent shared a story about describing a landscape outside a window to a sick family member in the hospital, relating to how frog illustrated the fantastical scenes of birds and cows to fish who couldn’t see them.

The second book read was A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams which tells the story of a girl, her mother, and grandmother who saved and saved to buy a big comfy chair after a fire destroys their home and possessions. Storyteller Maria led the discussion talking about how neighbors and other family members helped the family after the fire. Storyteller Jared asked, “If you saved all your money, would you keep it all for yourself or give it to your parents?” This sparked a lively debate amongst kids and parents and encouraged reflection on their own lives and experiences.

PT - Tonalea IMG_0453The evening wrapped with Lynn Haskell from the Scottsdale Public Library informing parents about different resources the library has to help with test prep, homework, and furthering adult education. Thank you to all the staff from Tonalea Elementary, the facilitators from Scottsdale Public Library, and our discussion leaders who made this program possible. Congratulations to all families who completed the program on March 6th!

Upcoming PRIME TIME Program:
If your family or a family you know is interested in participating in an upcoming session of PRIME TIME, please register with the Southwest Institute for Families and Children at 480-222-8800.

April 8 – May 13, 2014
Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary
9401 W. Garfield St. – Tolleson, AZ 85353
Day/Time: Tuesdays @ 5:30PM

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