Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) was used as a strategy by teachers in our school. Of course it is something that you can do everyday but it is celebrated in the month of April. I had heard about it, and we had practiced it throughout the years but it was never a part of our daily schedule. When I arrived to our school it was a part of our schedule and a strategy used for me to be able to spend more quality, one-on-one time with my classroom children.
D.E.A.R. is exactly what it means. The children would pack up for the day and they knew that nothing else mattered but reading. Prior to this, based on reading assessments and inventory taken we knew what level books they would be reading and so did they. They could read a book at their reading level or one level above for that challenge. I would walk around the classroom and sit next to a child randomly. They could read to me or I could just sit and listen to them read. Doing this enabled me to see if children were at the appropriate level or if they needed more assistance. I could also see which reading strategies they were using as readers. Where they relying on picture cues? Were they frustrated? Was it time for them to be retested and to move up a level? Also, were they really getting the jigst of the book-the overall meaning?
Many children really enjoyed this time to read whatever they wanted. They looked forward to the book of their choice to read and read silently. The children would often express they didn’t have that quiet time at home to read or their schedules were too packed to even be able to sit down and not be interrupted. In our classroom D.E.A.R. was very important and taken very seriously. Our principal would come around the school during that time. She would sit in to observe the children and she wanted to know if they were becoming accustomed to it and if the time was being utilized properly.
As educators we set the example so during this time if we weren’t observing we were reading as well. The students loved it even more when they saw their teacher reading and really immersed in a book. After D.E.A.R. many of my children wanted to know what I was reading. Applying D.E.A.R. to our schedule really gave us rich discussions in class about books. The children would discuss titles with one another after D.E.A.R. and share what one another was reading. I saw something different in my children, that love for reading was really coming alive! Whether you are a classroom teacher or a parent I really believe implementing a D.E.A.R. time is very beneficial for children of all ages. It really allows children to become connected with the beauty of literature. What a beautiful sight to see a child with a book-deeply immersed and using their imagination.
Have you implemented D.E.A.R. in your classroom? Would you do it at home?