I am a recovering bibliophile. No, chuck that – I am a current bibliophile, and proud of it! Which is why I’m so very jazzed about the up-coming D.E.A.R. Day! (In case you have not heard of this spectacular holiday…D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read.)
As a young girl, I had to find ways to “manage” my love of books and reading. Thank goodness we were in walking distance to our local library, where I spent endless summer days and weekends curled up on the comfy over-stuffed chairs they had in the kids’ section, or even at the long tables in the main room (just for a change of pace). I went through tons of books: from the Little House series, to Nancy Drew – historical fiction and mysteries were my favorites. During my troubled teen years I discovered humor writers, and dreamed about traveling to the places far away that I’d already explored on paper. As I grew older I began to gravitate towards biographies, wanting to find role models to identify with and emulate in my future.
Yes, it caused friction at home! Because our mom worked, chores like cleaning and cooking were often passed on to my sister and I, and, well, you know if you’re a teenager and there’s a good book waiting for you…I think you can figure out how that’s going to go!
Hmmm, the thought just occurred to me…is there any chance that the vision problems I had in my early twenties had anything to do with years of reading by flashlight under my blanket? Nah, I didn’t think so.
Anyway, all that to introduce a most wonderful day that’s coming up – D.E.A.R. Day!
Yes, folks, each year on April 12th, we celebrate a national day to honor reading. Even better, the whole month is often devoted to activities and events to encourage the love of reading in your children and within your family and circle of friends.
The first D.E.A.R. Day was introduced in Beverly Cleary’s book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 . April 12th was chosen as the flagship day in honor of Mrs. Cleary’s birthday, but as the concept has grown and become more widely known, more and more focus is given to the entire month. Which sounds great to me!
The goal of the program is to make reading a regular part of everyone’s routine.
Even with the incredible ease of accessing books via the vast array of technical devices we have available, it’s really important for homeschoolers to take the lead in keeping this special day alive. There is absolutely nothing like the feel of a good book in your hands…the smell of fresh pages when you bring a new one home from the bookstore…the ability to move back and forth between chapters to refresh your memory or find a lost detail…the anticipation of finality as you near the end, and pure satisfaction you feel when you turn the very. last. page.
How Can You Celebrate D.E.A.R. Day This Year?
Homeschoolers have the distinct advantage of being able to indeed drop EVERYTHING this April 12…and pick up a book. (Let me challenge you, too, to encourage your kids to put down the Kindle or laptop for this one, and make it a “real” book!) Then:
- Snuggle up with your little ones and a stack of picture books.
- Fix a plate of cookies to munch on or hot chocolate to sip on together as you read.
- Share funny lines you find.
- Talk about the chain of events in a story, or whether or not a consequence was expected or “fair”.
- Tell each other about who your favorite character is, and why.
Need Some Other Ideas or Resources?
Check out the official Drop Everything And Read website, where you can find the backstory to this day, and lots of other ideas. They also have downloads and printables to enrich your experience.
Also, Reading Rockets is considered a founding partner of D.E.A.R Day. You can find information about hosting an event and watch a video interview of Beverly Cleary on their site, too.
There are a myriad of conversations that can come from a good book. And an added layer of closeness to loved ones that come from sharing it.
Make the most of D.E.A.R. Day this year!