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.
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: