On April 12, one of my favorite days of the year will roll around- D.E.A.R. Day. If you’re a fan of Beverly Cleary’s books, you may recognize the acronym from Ramona Quimby, Age 8. When Ramona goes to her third grade class, she learns about this special day when the whole class will be able to Drop Everything and Read, anything and everything, for the day. The day is now celebrated each year on Beverly Cleary’s birthday, and families are encouraged to spend at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted time enjoying books and reading on that day.
As a young girl who loved reading- and I still do- the idea of D.E.A.R. was a wonderful one to me when I read the Ramona books growing up. I did have school teachers who valued reading, and, although we didn’t have any specified time like Ramona’s D.E.A.R. Day, we did have opportunity for reading for pleasure in class. When I became a teacher in a small Christian school I quickly instituted a D.E.A.R. Day for my class. Having a formal day just seemed to emphasize how important it is to read for pleasure.
Because I’ve read several of the Ramona books aloud to my crew over the years, they’ve occasionally asked if we could have a D.E.A.R. Day in our homeschool. I would probably be tempted to do this every day since I still love reading as much as ever, but even on unofficial days, I try to make sure that we all have ample time to enjoy reading- aloud and individually. It can be fun to celebrate the official D.E.A.R. Day in your homeschool, though. As D.E.A.R. Day rolls around this year, here are five ways you can celebrate it in your homeschool.
Have an extra long library day.
As much as I love to read, I sadly must admit that I’m pretty pathetic when it comes to establishing a regular library times. Between late fees on lost books and our typical busyness that makes it difficult to squeeze in even one more thing, I tend to let the days trickle by without library visits. But my kids- at least most of them- love the library.
If a visit to the library is usually low on your to do list, make time for it on D.E.A.R. Day. In fact, make extra time. It can be fun to sit in the quiet of the library and read. And there’s just something about being surrounded by all those books that can be inspiring. So take time on D.E.A.R. Day to have an extra long library time where kids can poke around the shelves and sit and read without interruption.
Take your books to the park.
It’s rather convenient that D.E.A.R. Day is held on April 12. By the time April rolls around, spring is often in full bloom. Take advantage of the beautiful weather outside and head outdoors to read. Go to a local park or even spread a blanket in your own backyard and enjoy reading as you enjoy the beauty around you.
Invite homeschooled friends over for a group read-a-thon.
It’s always fun to celebrate special days with a group. For D.E.A.R. Day, invite other homeschool friends over for a read-a-thon. Choose a set amount of time and encourage kids to read for the entire time. Let them spread out throughout the house- or even outside- with their book or books of choice. Moms can read as well- unless there are lots of little ones in the group.
This can be a really low-key event. After all the kids are supposed to be reading for the majority of the time. You could have a few snacks, but keep things simple and keep kids reading.
Take turns reading aloud.
I love to read aloud with the kids. It’s a practice I’ve kept up even as they’ve gotten older because it’s so important. But it’s less often that I have the kids read aloud to me. On D.E.A.R. Day switch things up. Pick a chapter book that is a favorite for all or pick multiple picture books- if you have young children- and take turns reading aloud. Even beginning readers can participate with simple books.
Have a favorite book theme party.
Does your family have a favorite book? One you’ve read aloud many times? Celebrate D.E.A.R. Day with a party themed around your favorite book. Think of some snacks and games that go along with the book. Have the kids make decorations. And spend time at the party reading your favorite book aloud. Keep it simple by just having a family party, or invite friends and go all out.
I love that we actually have a holiday that can encourage our kids- and our- love of reading. Take advantage of it in your homeschool and enjoy your celebration of D.E.A.R. Day.