With the rise of technology, and the lack of mindfulness in our day and age, Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) is a month-long national celebration of reading that encourages everyone to prioritize reading in their everyday lives. Specifically, D.E.A.R. day is a national invitation to set aside time on April 12 to read. This year for the first time, the middle school will be participating in D.E.A.R. to emphasize the importance of reading.
Additionally, April 12 marks the birthday of esteemed American author, Beverly Cleary, who captured the hearts of readers through the infamous tales of Ramona and Beezus, Socks, and Ribsy.
For a time on this day, laptops will be turned off, textbooks will be shut, and lessons will come to a stand still, as books will be opened for a moment of reading. This day also unites communities through reading, as it is a moment when everyone can take a step away from their busy lives to enjoy a good book.
D.E.A.R. is designed to promote reading for pleasure and to encourage a habit of regular reading.
According to The Telegraph, it is crucial because it benefits everyone’s lives in countless ways. Not only can reading improve writing skills, expand vocabulary, and increase knowledge, it can also improve focus and concentration, mental health, and memory. It is especially important that positive reading habits are established at a young age because it opens a whole world of learning. It hones communication skills and lays the foundation for success in school, which is why it is so important that the middle school encourages positive reading habits.
The Lower School participated in national D.E.A.R. day last year and invited the middle school to join in on the celebration of reading this year.
MS librarians Ms. Venisha Bahr and Ms. Karen Field proposed the idea to the grade level team leaders, who after discussing with grade level teachers, confirmed that they were all on board for the middle school community to celebrate D.E.A.R. day. It will take place at 8:35 am on April 12, at the beginning of first block and will last for 30 minutes.
In the run-up to national D.E.A.R. day, Ms. Bahr has planned reading activities and challenges to excite students and staff about reading. The community can participate in a reading scavenger hunt which will include activities such as reading poetry, reading a magazine, and reading poetry. The community will have to complete at least three challenges by April 12 to be entered in a drawing for a gift card to Waterstones. There will be one drawing for students and one drawing for staff, faculty, and parents. The winners will be announced on April 23.
Ms. Bahr is in high hopes that this day will be a stepping stone to students becoming more engaged in reading. She said, “I think that it will be beneficial to students and staff because we are all so over-programmed, but I don’t think that technology is a detriment to reading.”
Ms. Bahr explained that she thinks that we have to be more mindful of our use of technology and social media but that she understands the merits of using technology in reading.
“I love reading on my Kindle,” she said. She went on to explain that the problem lies with us absentmindedly scrolling through our phones, however, she is sure that national D.E.A.R day will be a step in the right direction.