School Days: D.E.A.R.

Today is the last day of school and I feel as (or more) excited than the students at the prospect of a long and languorous summer stretching out before me.  When I think back on my own school days, one of my fondest memories is of a special reading program that we had at my elementary school.

During the last 20 minutes of the day, our school participated in D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read).  D.E.A.R. was my favorite time of day and I looked forward to it each afternoon.  The 20 minutes passed in the blink of an eye and I’d have to wait until tomorrow to find out how the chapter ended.

My grammar school had a fabulous librarian who went on to author several books on how to motivate students to read.   My love of reading was fostered in that school and I’m thankful for the wonderful reading programs they introduced while I was a student. 

I always wonder if my school was the only one that instituted special reading programs to motivate emerging readers.  I work in a high school and many of my students dislike reading.  I can’t help but wonder if their primary schools offered such innovative programs like D.E.A.R, Summer Reading Challenges, Scholastic Book Fairs, Readers’ Theater, and dozens of other literacy-based activities that my school provided.

How about your school years?  Were you encouraged to read by teachers and librarians? Did your school offer special programs?

*CONGRATULATIONS to Vivienne from Serendipity–she was the winner the copy of Cutting Loose!

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16 responses to “School Days: D.E.A.R.

  1. I don’t think we had any special programs, but I do remember many happy hours spent at the school library. I loved it so much.

  2. My kids’ primary school also had the D.E.A.R. program – it was always interesting to see what books they would choose to read during that time. I didn’t have anything like D.E.A.R. when I was in school – I would have loved it. When I was in Grade Three, we did have a “read-on-your-own” reading comprehension program which I enjoyed, but other than that, there wasn’t any special emphasis on reading.

  3. Dear time was a favorite of mine as well. Finally I could read whatever I wanted even if it was for a short period of time. My elementary school principal had a great program that I participated in called Literature Award. We had a reading list for the year, we read to the younger grades, we participated in a writing competition and a poetry read aloud. Fun!

  4. D.E.A.R. sounds awesome. I don’t know if we had a program like this when I was growing up, but I do remember doing a LOT of reading. I was very encouraged by my parents to read as much as I wanted and I loved to get my hands on new books. I think it’s so important to encourage reading and to show kids that reading can be cool.

  5. My son’s 4th-grade teacher implemented D.E.A.R. in her classroom (in the mid-’90’s), but I don’t recall that it was school-wide.

    I don’t remember any special reading programs in my own grade-school days, but we were encouraged to read quietly on our own when our other work was done, either from classroom/library books or books we brought from home. I think that’s when my habit of always having a book with me got started.

  6. While growing up, my schools did not but my library did so I loved books very early on.

    With my kids, I can say that the schools try really hard to make reading fun. There are reading incentives, book fairs and fun projects but they are in elementary school which is where I think most of this stuff really needs to happen in order for it to “catch on” so for them it works.

  7. I don’t remember D.E.A.R. while I was in elementary school, but it is something that my oldest has in her first grade class. At her school every Friday parents can come in for a 1/2 to read to the kids. My husband, father and I have all participated and thought it was really great!

  8. Wow, for a second I thought you were talking about D.A.R.E. (Drug! Abuse! Resistance Education!)

    My dad used to read to us and we didn’t have television, so reading wasn’t ever a chore.

  9. My wonderful 6th grade teacher encouraged it heavily. She read to us every afternoon and she provided books for us to read. There were also contests and prizes for most books read, and a construction paper “book chain” that was inching around the room slowly but steadily with every book we read and recorded. I changed schools midyear, and 35+ years later, I still wonder if the book chain ever got all the way around the room.

  10. We had a D.E.A.R program at my high school here in Australia, although I can’t remember ever having anything like that in primary school.

    There are stacks of great Australian reading incentive programs for children now, but one that I can remember taking part in that my kids take part in as well is the MS Read-a-thon. MS (multiple sclerosis) Australia runs a month long readathon to raise money for treatment programs and reasearch into MS. My son (now 10) has raised about $4500 for this over the past 2 years.

    The kids are reading for the Readathon now (the whole month of June) for the 30th anniversary of the MS Readathon. I really have to get my butt into gear to help them find some sponsors. So far we are concentrating too much on the reading and not enough on the fundraising. 🙂

  11. Thank you for my win.

    We didn’t have any reading incentives at school. Luckily for me I always enjoyed reading.
    My girls are not into books at all and it would be lovely if there were more reading incentives for them at school.

    Anyway, enjoy your long and luxurious rest. Have a great summer.

  12. It’s awesome you had such a great reading program! My elementary school was really good about that, too. Our librarian, Mrs. Benton, was such a strong, encouraging force… always talking with us about new books and helping develop “rewards” for all the book reports we would turn in.

    I was a total book nerd, of course — not much has changed! — and used to “win” all sorts of goodies for everything I completed. At my school, we had something called SSR — Sustained Silent Reading — and we would end every school day by spending 30 minutes reading quietly at our desks. SSR was capped off by bells signifying the end of the school day, so needless to say lots of kids would get very antsy… but I loved it so much! Usually I would go home and finish the book as soon as SSR was over!

    And can I just add that I’m insanely jealous of you and my teacher friends who now have months to devote to… whatever you freakin’ want?! I know that you’ve certainly earned your break — I only wish I was right there, reading with you! 🙂 But back to my desk…

  13. I remember having DEAR in elementary school and 6th grade. It was definitely one of my favorite times of the day!

  14. Our middle school has a daily 20 minute time period for silent reading. It’s called SSR but I can’t figure out what that other S is for…

  15. I am SO going to blog about this!!!

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