Do you remember back in elementary school when your teacher would announce to the class “OK, everyone, grab your book for D.E.A.R. time?” Well now that you’re an adult, it’s that time again on April 12.
“Drop Everything And Read” or “D.E.A.R.” programs have been held nationwide for years on April 12 in honor of author Beverly Cleary, when she first mentioned the mnemonic in her book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. The celebration of reading also lasts throughout the month.
A love of reading should be fostered as early as possible in children to ignite their creativity and imagination. By setting aside personal reading time at school and at home, children will expand their vocabulary, understand story lines and how they develop, and will be more engaged thanks to better listening skills.
Some classic books include Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak for children ages 1-4.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrette; Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume are popular choices for ages 5-7.
For older readers ages 8-11, favorites include Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White; Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers; Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
So how can you participate? Host a reading club or event in your home or attend one at your local library. Visit your local bookstore and make some new purchases or spend time reading to children and youth groups.