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The magic clock is ringing 6 p.m. . Everyone is quietly gathering their reading materials, finding a cozy corner to sit in for the next half hour. When I say everyone, I do mean everyone. You see we are getting ready for D.E.A.R. Time,which stands for Drop Everything And Read. Mimi has quite a stack of astro-physics and Herman Hesse. Little "O" is greatly engrossed in Hatchett. I have a stack of rotating books that I'm reading to Jump Into for this lovely space, and Baba (that's what the kids call their dad), is reading a variety of political magazines.
Different than family story-time, D.E.A.R. accomplishes a couple of things. First it sets an example of the importance of reading in a family setting. When your children see that reading is important to you, it will also become important to them. As they see you read a variety of material from newspapers, magazines, and books, they will also want to model that behavior of having an eclectic mix of reading material.
Second, D.E.A.R. time is a great segway between times of our day. 6 p.m. usually works on most days. It quiets us down so that we can prepare dinner together at 6:30. It signals that we are shifting gears and making the time to do so.
Thirdly, as your children learn to read more and more on their own, D.E.A.R. Time gives them independent reading time with a book or magazine that they think they will enjoy.
The one question I am asked over, and over again in a variety of ways, is how do I get my child to love reading? The answer is simple ……just read. If you spend 30 minutes each day reading, you can read on average 40 books a year. Maybe you've heard of the adage, "Practice makes perfect." The truth of the matter is, that practice makes permanent. So the more you read, the more you will want to read and then reading becomes a part of your daily rhythm.
For those of you who home-school, I know that many of you use reading based curriculum and this isn't even an issue . For those of us who have our children in schools it can become an issue because many classrooms read the classroom novel which doesn't allow for a lot of independent reading time. Teachers have so much to impart on their students in such a short time each day. Reading can become a "half to" even with the teachers best intentions. D.E.A.R. time allows for all of us to read what we want when we want. Sending the message at home that reading is important is one of the best ways you can support your children's teachers and of course your children.
D.E.A.R. Time is a commitment. I suggest doing it the same time every day. A time that works best for your family. If 30 minutes to start with is difficult, be kind to yourself. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to a half hour a day. The more everyone reads, the more and longer periods of time they will want to read.
Enjoy and let us know how it's going. We would also love to know what you're reading. Take Care.