Tag Archives: D.E.A.R

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!

The Reading Cult for Kids: Scholastic Books

I have vivid recollections of my six years in elementary school.  A few are traumatic–hysterics on the first day of kindergarten after being pried from my mother’s arms and deposited aboard a menacing, yellow bus; a sadistic first grade teacher who sported a towering beehive (in ’81) and took pleasure in punishing disorganized little me by dumping the contents of my desk on to my lap as I sat on the floor crying.  But there were good times amid the trauma. 

I recall the fun that was inhaling the heady scent of mimeographed paper (old-time photocopies for the youngsters!), D.E.A.R time (Drop Everything And Read), and best of all, SCHOLASTIC BOOK FLIERS and FAIRS.


Scholastic has been peddling books to school children via mini-newspapers for almost 60 years.  I perused the flier with the fervor of a lost man studying a map. 

Whole hours were spent poring over the literary possibilities.  The epic decisions that rested on my little shoulders threatened to break me.   Should I stay safe and go with Clifford and Corduroy, or maybe try something new?

Going out on a limb, selecting an unknown author or title, was a venture fraught with peril.  A feeling of unease would set in if I let spontaneity rule; I would invariably pick the cruddiest book that Scholastic offered.  Weeks of anticipation and waiting for my package would be for naught.

I still own a few of my Scholastic purchases to this day.  The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willow Davis Roberts  was one of my favorites and still has a place of honor in the “silver” section of my organized-by-color book cabinet. 

So, ‘fess up.  Were you a Scholastic disciple?  Did you order up books from the little newspaper?  I know this wasn’t only a Jersey thing–sure, we’ve got the market on nuclear waste and the mafia cornered…but other states had to have Scholastic too!