It's National D.E.A.R. Day!
Today's guest blog is written by educator and children's book author, Tara Drouin.
Hello, my name is Tara Drouin, and I am excited to talk to you about Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day.
D.E.A.R. Day is celebrated on April 12 each year, the birthday of author Beverly Cleary. She included a passage about the D.E.A.R. program in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 because she was inspired by letters she received from children who participated in Drop Everything and Read activities.
I have been teaching for over 14 years, and D.E.A.R. time has always been one of the most peaceful times of day in my classroom. It is also one of my favorite bonding times with my daughter at home.
A key aspect of D.E.A.R. time is to allow children to select anything they’d like to read and let them read simply for the pleasure of it, without any external expectation or assessment of retention and comprehension.
According to readingrockets.org, on National D.E.A.R. Day families are encouraged to take at least 30 minutes to put aside all distractions and enjoy books together. Life can be busy these days with after-school activities and homework; D.E.A.R. time can be a nice way for them to reconnect with their favorite book, or even discover a new one.
There are so many ways kids can enjoy a book on D.E.A.R. Day. Here are just a few:
- Write in a journal after reading their favorite book
- Create a new ending to a story
- Write a letter to their favorite character
- Read a book with a positive message and then write how it makes them feel
Reading is one of the wonderful ways we can teach kids about diversity, kindness, unity and acceptance. I love books by Peter H. Reynolds because so many of them inspire positive thinking and can empower kids. When we make reading fun for kids, we can expose them to a wide variety of topics and they will learn without even realizing it.
As parents and teachers we have the opportunity to ensure the essence of D.E.A.R. Day is continued throughout the year. We can do this by:
- Modeling quiet reading time ourselves by letting our children see us reading;
- Talking to them about the books that we love, what we have in our “to be read” pile and how we can’t wait to make time to read; and
- Taking frequent trips to the bookstore and library together to make sure we always have a diverse selection of books on hand that are interesting and engaging.
Reading at bedtime is a great way to unwind, but it can often be cut short or missed altogether because we're in a hurry to give our kids baths and get them into bed - or sometimes because we're just too tired. The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities during the day to get those reading minutes in. An easy way to do that is to carry a book in your purse or bag, keep one in the car or have a few e-books stored on your mobile device.
Let’s make a commitment to find little moments throughout the day to suggest a reading break for children and adults alike - on D.E.A.R. DAY and every day.
About the Author
Tara Drouin is a mom, teacher, musician and a children’s book author. She combined her love for music and teacher in her first book, One Heart, to spread the message that we are all connected and by embracing our differences, it brings us closer together. She is also the author of Red Rock Road and Starlight. You can learn more about her books at taradrouinauthor.com.