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Reading books about the holiday is a good way to encourage children to read during the upcoming 18-day break from school, said Suzanne Landrum, a Dependents Schools-Pacific literacy facilitator.
Reading books about the holiday is a good way to encourage children to read during the upcoming 18-day break from school, said Suzanne Landrum, a Dependents Schools-Pacific literacy facilitator. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

CAMP McTUREOUS, Okinawa — Students begin their 18-day holiday break Wednesday — and that’s just too long for them to go without reading, says a reading facilitator with Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific.

Just like muscles need to be constantly stretched and exercised, so does the brain — especially for those just learning to read, said Suzanne Landrum, who works at Bechtel Elementary School.

“Reading is an ongoing learning process and the long break from school interrupts that learning process,” she said. “If you don’t practice those skills, you can lose them.”

Landrum offers these tips for parents to keep their kids’ reading skills sharp over the holidays:

¶ If flying back to the States, take books to read on the plane.

¶ When driving to various locations, have children read aloud in the car.

¶ Have children interview relatives about past holidays and then write about what they learned.

¶ Read aloud to children and ask open-ended questions afterward.

¶ Take turns reading aloud from the pages of a book.

Landrum also offers tips for making reading part of the holiday tradition:

¶ Have children make bookmarks to go along with any books given as gifts.

¶ Have children make bookmarks for holiday cards.

¶ Take a picture of your child reading a holiday book and glue it inside the cover.

¶ When baking for the holidays, have your child read recipes aloud.

¶ Give book gift certificates as children’s stocking stuffers.

¶ Read books about holiday traditions — or traditions of other countries — and talk about what was read.

Children learn by emulating adult behavior, so parents should show their children that reading is important, Landrum said.

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