Spark Boxes ignite family conversations around humanities themes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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NEW ORLEANS — Community organizations are invited to help spark a love of reading, fire up imaginations and bring books into the homes of families in their communities by signing up to distribute Spark Boxes provided by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ PRIME TIME Family Reading Program.


Made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Beaird Family Foundation and the Boh Bros Centennial Fund, Spark Boxes are based on LEH’s 30-year intergenerational reading and discussion program, PRIME TIME Family Reading.


Each Spark Box contains books to build families’ home libraries, additional learning supplies and a Grown-Up Guide for caregivers that provides support for discussion and activities for at-home implementation of PRIME TIME’s humanities-centered methodology.


“The past year has reinforced the importance of family interaction and the ability to embrace learning from our own homes,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the LEH and PRIME TIME, Inc. “Spark Boxes are a way for families to connect with each other and the world around them by not only reading a story but going further to share their ideas, express their emotions and to spark a love of literature that we hope children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”


Organizations wishing to distribute Spark Boxes can apply now at The deadline to submit an application is June 30. Decisions will be announced in mid-July, with distribution sites receiving Spark Boxes by the end of that month.


Formerly known as PRIME TIME First Aid Kits, Spark Boxes were originally developed in response to the historic flooding in Baton Rouge in 2016 as a way to share the PRIME TIME Family Reading program when meeting in person was not possible. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that 40% of Louisiana students still lack reliable access to the Internet, have further reaffirmed the importance of children having access to books at home and how discussing the humanities themes found in those books can help during times of crisis.


Once distribution sites are identified, families can visit to find a local organization and contact information to sign up for a Spark Box. The LEH will distribute 300 boxes to program sites statewide at no cost to programs and families.