Texas Night Before Christmas Literacy Workshop

Nicole Penland, member of the Fort Hood Parent to Parent team, reads a book to the children during the Texas Night Before Christmas literacy workshop Tuesday evening at Chick-fil-A in Harker Heights.

Several small hands feverishly got to work Tuesday making holiday-themed ornaments before listening to “Texas Night Before Christmas.”

Families gathered at the Harker Heights Chick-fil-A for the locally owned and operated chain’s Family Fun Night, where they were treated to a Fort Hood Parent-to-Parent Early Literacy Workshop.

The event brings families together through food and fun and the restaurant provides an atmosphere where families can create lasting, fun memories together.

“Anything that encourages kids to read is great,” said Jennifer Cobb, a mother of two and Family Fun Night regular.

Her two children, Jackson, 4, and Danielle, 6, were among the first eight kids to pull up a seat to complete their book-related crafts.

“This is a fun and exciting craft and I can’t wait to hang it on my Christmas tree,” Danielle said. “I love that I am learning new things about Christmas in Texas.”

After the craft, the kids gathered around Nicole Penland, Parent-to-Parent team member with the Fort Food Military Child Education Coalition, as she brought the book to life.

During the reading, Penland engaged the children with every turn of the page by asking questions and getting them involved in the storytelling process.

“Studies have shown that children who have literacy rich experiences before they start school will be ahead of the game when it comes to reading and writing,” Penland said.

The early literacy workshops are designed to help model “best practices” for parents as they work to instill a love of books and learning in their children.

The MCEC believes stories have the capacity to open family discussions on potentially difficult topics, such as family separation, deployment, moving, grief and crisis.

For information about future workshops go to www.militarychild.org and “like” them on Facebook by searching “Parent to Parent — Fort Hood, TX.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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