Drop Everything and Read

imageApril 12 is a celebration for all of us who love reading and who love books.

It is D.E.A.R. day – Drop Everything and Read.

Really. A day is set aside for reading.  For those of us who claim that we never have enough time, this is the day to put any excuses aside and spend the whole day reading. We should not feel guilty about it or think of things that we are not getting done. We should just read.

In a book Ramona Quigley, Age 8 the author Beverly Cleary introduced the idea of D.E.A.R. Since then the day has been celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday.

Check out the D.E.A.R. website.

I expect most bloggers are already into reading, because blogging is a form of expression that they have chosen and there is an assumption that people will read the blogs. But I want to stress the importance of reading to children and encouraging children to read.

When I was teaching, it was clear that children who have been read to and encouraged to look at books were far ahead of their peers when starting school. An early education teacher can easily identify those students who have been exposed to books. For one thing, their language skills are better.

For many parents, and thankfully so, it is a huge priority for their children to do well academically and intellectually. They want to make sure the children are in the right schools with the best teachers. Those things are important. But some of these same parents do not recognize that one of the most important things for a parent to do is set the groundwork for school readiness through reading to children.

To read more about the benefits of reading to children, check out 10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids on the website Early Moments.

My daughter enjoying a book with her uncle
My daughter enjoying a book with her uncle

I will readily admit that I am not the perfect parent. Like many other parents I am sure that I made a lot of mistakes. But one thing I know I did absolutely right was reading frequently to my daughter. I read to her practically every day from the day she came home from the hospital (which was when she was two months old, but that is another story.) As she gained the ability to focus her eyes would concentrate on the pictures.

At first I just enjoyed the quiet time together. My daughter had always been very active and did not want to be held unless she was at the point where she needed to drop off to sleep. But if I had a book in my lap her mind was involved and she enjoyed that time together. When I got out a book she would immediately crawl into my lap. Frequently if I didn’t get to reading as soon as she would like she would bring the book to me.  Early on she insisted on turning the pages herself. By age 3 she would follow the words as I read. When I had finished reading a page she would frequently not turn the page for a time until she had studied the picture, because she had been following the words so intently that she had not yet looked at the picture.

Before she was age 2 we made regular trips to the library every Saturday. At the time our community library had a 15 book limit on the number of books that could be checked out at a time. We were likely to read all 15 books within the first few days. Then we would read them over and over again until the next Saturday when we could get 15 more books.

My daughter was reading on her own before she started kindergarten. We didn’t use Hooked on Phonics or other programs that were in vogue. She had just followed the written words and soon recognized words on her own. I am not even sure when I realized that she was actually reading. It seems to have just happened, although I know it resulted from the huge amount of time we spent together with books.

Drop Everything and Read, just another thread of my life.

Other links to D.E.A.R posts:

New2writing: 12th April– Drop Everything and Read Day!

Nicholas C. Rossis: Drop Everything and Read

Julie Stroebel Barichello: No foolin’–April is a Month for Readers and Writers 

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11 thoughts on “Drop Everything and Read

  1. thatssojacob April 12, 2015 / 11:20 am

    I wish I could drop everything and read…laundry, responsibilities, cleaning…wait…never mind…I can…bye for now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman April 12, 2015 / 10:37 pm

      I remember that when I was a student it was particularly difficult to find time for leisure reading, and if I did do it I would feel guilty for not studying or working on that paper, etc. But it is probably good to put all of that on hold sometimes.

      Like

  2. Lorie Smith Schaefer April 12, 2015 / 11:21 am

    When I taught we too did DEAR time. One of the most powerful tools to improve reading skills and the love of reading simultaneously is lots and lots of FREE CHOICE reading. When I had a kid who didn’t like reading, I made it my mission to get them hooked on something, to find the key. Choose Your Own Adventures, joke books, comic books, motorcycle magazines. Whatever. It’s all good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman April 12, 2015 / 10:33 pm

      When I taught we did Silent Sustained Reading for a time. Everybody in the school from students to teachers to administrators to cooks, janitors and secretaries were suppose to stop everything and read for 20 minutes. I think we only did it once a week. And there were no rules about what could be read other than it could not be textbooks or assignments. I thought it was a great idea and a great effort, but I think it was the administrators who had the hardest time sticking to it.

      Like

    • Good Woman April 13, 2015 / 8:52 pm

      This is an idea that I think is so great that I wish I had thought of it. But no, credit must go to the author Beverly Cleary.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicholas C. Rossis April 14, 2015 / 3:12 am

    Thank you so much for including my post on this wonderful post. Your daughter is very lucky – you sure did do everything right there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman April 14, 2015 / 6:25 am

      Thanks for your very kind comment and for taking the time to comment. Reading to/with chidren is something I feel very passionate about.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Creatopath April 16, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    I hadn’t heard of DEAR – it’s fantastic. I’m passionate about kids reading too and we read to our kids every night. Now they are little bookworms and I am in a book club so I always have a good book to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman April 16, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      I will never regret the time I spent reading to my daughter. I guess in some ways I wish I could still read to her–she’s now 26 and lives half way across the country. So glad to know you too spend time reading to your children.

      Liked by 1 person

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