64 Parishes

Summer 2021

Little Voices, Big Ideas

PRIME TIME hits the airwaves

Published: May 27, 2021
Last Updated: August 31, 2021

Little Voices, Big Ideas

Photo by Thomas Walsh, WWNO

Sarah DeBacher prepares to record.

It’s a common misconception that the Chinese word for “crisis” contains the word “opportunity”—but the misconception has proven persistent because it speaks to an instinctual human understanding that good outcomes can emerge from difficult situations. As the state locked down over the past year, the LEH education division had to look for creative, safe ways to serve its various stakeholders, assembling literacy care packages, relying on Zoom, and—in a first for the division—hitting the airwaves with a new radio show and podcast. Little Voices, Big Ideas, produced in partnership with WWNO, brings families together for a shared reading and discussion experience that goes beyond the bedtime story. Led by LEH Director of Curriculum and Content Development (and mother of two) Sarah DeBacher, each episode follows the structure of the discussion portion of a traditional PRIME TIME Family Reading program.

DeBacher leads the discussion, joined by Helen Taylor, Provost at LSU-Shreveport; Thomas E. Wartenberg, who has taught philosophy to children through picture books; and Freddi Williams Evans, an independent scholar and children’s book author. Together, the group employs humanities-centered methodology to explore the story, asking questions of one another and the text. This approach is proven to help children develop critical thinking skills and the foundational skills necessary for a lifelong love of learning. The episodes offer deep dives into individual texts like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Fanny’s Dream, The Giving Tree, and more while modeling PRIME TIME methodology for parents, caregivers, and anyone interested in making the most of their reading time with children and having meaningful conversations about big ideas in little books. In addition, episodes also include excerpted recordings of families discussing the featured book, adding real PRIME TIME participants to the discussion.

Made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with PRIME TIME Family Reading, WWNO New Orleans, and WRKF Baton Rouge, full episodes for Season 1 are available at wwno.org and on Apple Podcasts.