When I was a little girl, my parents went to the Bahamas. My brothers and I stayed with our cousins for the week. My brothers were thrilled because they were able to use nerf guns and play army with my cousins.
Nerf guns and army games weren’t really my thing and so my aunt, knowing this, was prepared. Upon our arrival, she presented me with Beverly Cleary’s entire Ramona Quimby collection.
I read them all and, when I had finished, I read them all again.
It was the best reading week!
I know I am not alone in my love of Beverly Cleary. Cleary has helped to grow generations of readers. Today, my children love Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby just as much as I did, decades ago.
Tomorrow, Beverly Cleary turns 100 years old. Every year, on Cleary’s birthday, schools nationwide celebrate D.E.A.R. Day. D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. In her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Beverly Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R. and national D.E.A.R. programs have been held on April 12th, Beverly Cleary’s birthday, ever since.
D.E.A.R. Day is an important reminder to make space in your day for reading. As a homeschool mom obsessed with this book, I feel strongly that reading aloud to children is arguably the best thing we can do for their future success.
If you want to revitalize your family reading routine, D.E.A.R. Day is a perfect excuse! Here are some ideas to help you make every day D.E.A.R. Day!
4 Ways to Make D.E.A.R. Day Every Day
1. Surround Yourself with Books
The best way to grow readers is to surround yourself with print, from books to magazines to newspapers. Label toy bins, turn on closed captioning when your kids are watching TV, play board games, have great conversations–these are all easy ways to boost those early literacy skills.
2. Visit the Library or Local Bookstore
Nothing inspires reading like a trip to the library or bookstore. Set your children loose and see what they find. Let them select books of interest to them, but be sure to sneak in a few that you think they would enjoy, too! When you get home, leave your selections on the coffee or kitchen table for your children to discover. This is called strewing and is a great way to inspire reading without the pressure! Make it your goal to surround yourself with great books.
3. Make Reading Aloud a Habit
Many of us save reading for bedtime and that is a wonderful family tradition. But let’s be honest here: there are some seasons of life during which bedtime reading is not always pleasant. I love to read aloud to my children, but sometimes bedtime is stressful! Maybe it is because we’re running late and the kids are overtired. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. Maybe it’s because everyone is crabby. Whatever the reason, sometimes bedtime is not the most enjoyable read aloud time.
We still read bedtime stories over here, but I’ve recently started a new tradition that I am in love with. I call it Coffee and Books and it has changed our morning routine. Every morning, I wake up and grab a cup of coffee and a book… or a few. My children trickle down the stairs, grab their breakfasts, and meet me at the kitchen island where I proceed to read aloud to them. Every single morning. It has become a treasured morning tradition and it starts our day off in a very peaceful way.
4. Set an Example
Monkey see, monkey do! Make sure your children see you reading! An even better idea is to set aside time each day for quiet reading. As an introvert and homeschool mama, I need some quiet space in my day. It allows me to recharge my battery and to have more patience. Because of this, I try to set aside 45 minutes – one hour of quiet time daily and we spend this time reading. I talk about what I’m reading with my children and they know that I need to read to fall asleep each night. In fact, when they started showing interest in reading, I played this trick on them!
How do you make D.E.A.R. Day every day?
We live in a go-go-go and do-all-the-things culture. How do you make space for reading? Share here!