“Drop Everything And Read” Day, also known as DEAR Day, is celebrated nationwide on April 12. This day is author Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Mrs. Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R in her book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Since then, classrooms around the United States have celebrated this day in a variety of ways. Here are some unique ways you can celebrate this year.In the Spirit Of Olympics
With the Summer Olympics coming soon, it is a perfect time to celebrate reading with the spirit of olympics. On DEAR Day, students can come dressed in the attire of their favorite summer sport. Students rotate around the room, spending time reading books on summer sports. One section of the room can be set up for gymnastics, one for track and field, one for basketball, one for beach volleyball, or even one for archery. A sign or symbol can be placed in each section of the room to indicate which sport is featured. One designated area of the room can be for the “fans” in which children who would like to read their own choice books may gather. Students can spend as much time in any one section as they prefer. When the reading time is up, award each student with a “gold medal” for their reading efforts.
Plan your DEAR Day to be a Disney DEAR Day. Gather as many Disney books as you can find and allow students to bring their own from home. Encourage students to dress as their favorite Disney character. Play some soft Disney music in the background (probably best without words) and even have a Disney snack to munch while reading. When the reading time is up, display on the SMARTBoard a short video of the fireworks over the Disney castle (easily found on YouTube) as a celebration of their reading.
Simulate a camp out by asking parents to loan small tents to set up in the classroom or gym area. Buy or borrow a small star projector for the ceiling and create a fake campfire. If you have a small microwave easily available, you can even make simple smores! Children can wear their pajamas and bring flashlights and read “under the stars.”
Beach towels, shorts, flip-flops and sunglasses can create a great way to celebrate DEAR Day in your classroom. Students can bring in inflatable rafts and inner tubes or beach chairs on which to get comfortable, as well. Decorate your learning environment with some inflatable beach balls or beach toys and don’t forget to provide the lemonade!
Travel with Books
Choose a destination as a class and “travel” to that destination on DEAR Day. Each minute or page read counts as a mile. (This can be adjusted to be sure you reach your destination.) Provide nonfiction titles about your chosen city or landmark for students to read and make a food or snack native to that area that students can enjoy while they read. Take pictures of your “journey” together.
Have fun planning and engaging readers with DEAR Day this year. How do you like to celebrate this national event? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!