By Tim Bedley
Many teachers have a D.E.A.R. Day on occasion. Drop Everything And Read. Here are 11 keys to D.E.A.R. Day success in the elementary school classroom.
- Schedule the day. Break the day up into 15-20 minute segments. Doing what? Read on.
- Rotate types of activities. Yes, it’s an ALL reading day, but that doesn’t mean you want little kids trying to read by themselves all day long. That is a recipe for disaster. Four possible activities include reading to self (silent reading), teacher read aloud, book talks, and read with a friend.
- Discipline using an on/off switch. Are the kids allowed to talk or not? Make that perfectly clear and enforce it to a T! If voices are off, not a single student is allowed to say one single word. If it’s time to share, let ’em loose. Don’t tolerate a middle ground, occasional chatting when it’s supposed to be silent.
- Maintain your classroom rules. The atmosphere should be relaxed but don’t throw your standards out the window.
- Allow soft stuff. Encourage your students to wear their jammies, bring their giant pillows, and cuddle with their favorite stuffed animals. It’s a special day!
- Move the furniture. Open up the room so the kids can lounge around on the floor. Join them on the floor (with professional discretion.)
- Don’t allow movement. When it’s time to read silently, find a place and stay there until the timer goes off.
- Read with the kids. Pull out your favorite book and read it while the kids read silently.
- Get the kids talking about their reading. At the end of each silent reading block, ask the students to turn and talk about what they just read. Listen into their conversations.
- Take pictures. Pictures send this message to your kids: What you are doing is newsworthy. Reading is a big deal.
- Don’t ruin the fun. Stay away from quizzing the kids or giving them “assignments.” Make the day all about the love of reading.