Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome Mrs. Cote from The Hands-On Teacher: To D.E.A.R or NOT to D.E.A.R?

To D.E.A.R. or NOT to D.E.A.R.?
No, not dear, but D.E.A.R….ever heard of it?
Before I tell you all about it, let me first tell you a little about me! I’m guest blogging today for Lacey!
My name is Marie from The Hands-On Teacher in First!
This is me:
If you haven’t stopped by before, I hope you’ll will!
Now, let’s get back to the topic: D.E.A.R. time… Drop Every Thing And Read!

Some of you may have heard of it, and some of you may even celebrate this in your own school and class. At our school, it’s somewhat of a hot topic right now…not because it’s a new thing, but because our administration has decided to change it up.
For years now we have celebrated D.E.A.R. time. What that means, is each day we have DEAR in our class. For fifteen minutes, students sit at their seats and read a book of their choice. Now, I’ll be honest…typically, while the students are reading, I tidy my desk, check my work email, or prep for other lessons. I generally do not sit and read at my desk.
This is where the questions come up….If DEAR time is “DROP EVERYTHING AND READ”, should the teachers also do the same?
Well, the administration at my school has begun to question just that, and has decided that there will be NO D.E.A.R. time, unless it is utilized differently by the teachers. They want it to be a more interactive time or a true DEAR time, meaning teachers are also reading.
The other ideas they have given us would be allowing students to partner read during this time, or allowing students to choose from a set of activities to do that would correspond to what they have read during the DEAR TIME. I actually think they may be onto something here....
I remember having DEAR time when I was a child, but never really took the time to learn more about it. UNTIL NOW…
So, here is what I found (all from http://dropeverythingandread.com/NationalDEARday.html )
There is actually a NATIONAL D.E.A.R. Day that is celebrated on April 12th, which is Beverly Cleary’s birthday.
Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.” ( Quoted from www.dropeverythingandread.com)
Now, DEAR time could be an amazing thing, but like so many other ideas, there are always going to be people who misuse or mistreat it. Remember, DEAR time is a time set aside for students to read. This is not something to use anytime you need an extra few minutes to plan, and should not be for an extended period of time. Remember, it's to engage students and get them excited about READING! So, telling them each day to "Pull out a book, sit, and read quietly" may not be enough.
What are your thoughts on D.E.A.R. time?? How does your school utilize it, or do they? What would you like to see happen during those 15 minutes? Do you agree or disagree with having the teachers also D.E.A.R?
I’d love to hear back from ya’ll!
Thanks, and remember to visit me! And, Lacey, thank you for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your amazing blog! I love following you! J
The Hands-On Teacher in First!


  1. We don't D.E.A.R. at my school although I do have an independent reading break after recess as we take turns getting drinks and going to the bathroom. If students ask to read together during that time I let them as long as they stay focused and don't disturb others. Sometimes I read during that time as well, but sometimes I'm getting set up for the next lesson. I think it's important for the students to see the teacher reading for enjoyment as well. I think the concept of independent reading is great, but I think D.E.A.R. doesn't take it far enough. I recommend looking into the Daily 5 for ideas of how to incorporate reading to self into your day productively!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten
    I'm having a giveaway! Please stop by and check it out: http://herdingkats.blogspot.com/2012/06/blogaversary-giveaway.html

    1. When I really think about it, I agree that DEAR time may not take it far enough, but I do enjoy the relaxing aspect of it for the kids. It is something my class did for the 15 minutes right after lunch, so it worked as a transition.

      Thanks for stopping by! I'll come check out your blog too! :)

  2. We don't D.E.A.R at my school but I do have familiar reading time. This is a time for about 10-15 minutes when students spend time reading text that is familiar to them. It can be poems, nursery rhymes, alphabet chants or books from their book bags.
    Rose "The Wonderful World of Kindergarten"

  3. Good questions Marie! We also don't do school wide D.E.A.R. but in my class I make sure my kids have 15 minutes of Read to Self (same as D.E.A.R.) every day. It's part of our schedule, we come in from lunch recess, I do a whole class read aloud, and then they do Read to Self. I find myself using this 15 minutes in a variety of ways. Sometimes I use that time to give a make up spelling test to a kiddo or help another kid go over some skills that they bombed on their math tests. Other times I am checking up on school e-mails or doing some kind of planning for the afternoon, next day, etc. There is so little free time during the day that I try and take advantage of the time since when it's up it's back on my feet teaching until dismissal. It's also nice to take the 15 minutes of quiet time to re-group myself a little- especially if it's been one of THOSE days. Do I think teachers should have to read during this time too? Honestly, I don't think it's a bad idea. At the very least I understand the logic behind it and think it could be powerful for the kids to see their teacher do. Ideally I think this time should also be a time where teachers can sit down and read with the kids in their class. I try to do this once or twice a week. I also think it'd be acceptable for teachers to be pulling kids for some 1:1 coaching/intervention at this time.

    ❤- Stephanie
    Falling Into First

    1. Love your response! Sounds like we have a lot in common when it comes to this. I'm pretty open minded about the 15 minutes and am actually a bit excited about preparing some really cool listening center activities for the time to use once per week. I have lots of books that are on CD and then as a class we could do a small activity or discussion right after....

      Thank you for the comment! :)

  4. We also have D.E.A.R. but call it SSR Silent Sustained Reading... I do enjoy the time that is set aside only to read, but 20 minutes in K right after the bell rang was hard! Not to metion when their actual reading time was for an hour to follow. I think out school could revamp the way they look at it and I'd absolutely love it!!


    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    PS I'm having a linky and would love for you to join!

    1. THanks for commenting JEssica! I'm out of state and will try to join your LINKY when I'm at a computer for a longer amount of time. Maybe tomorrow? :)

      We had our DEAR time right after lunch, so it was a perfect time for the kids to relax and settle down before the rest of our lessons.


  5. We do not have D.E.A.R. time at our school. HOWEVER, if we did I think I would expect all of the teachers to also drop everything and read. Yes! I know that we could most definitely use this time as an extra planning, and that may be more beneficial for US... but what about our students? Isn't our motto as teachers "Model! Model! Model!" Well I truly believe that if you drop everything and read during this time it will MODEL to students how important reading is. I think if I was a student and it was D.E.A.R. time and my teacher was doing other things than reading I would think to myself "Hey! Reading must not be that important! My teacher is not reading!" Now... I do hope that we are mature enough to understand that what we might want to read on the beach while sipping our adult beverage is PROBABLY not what we should be reading in class. But what about using this time to read a school related book, like Daily 5 or Conscience Discipline? (I'm going to quit now... because I think I could go on all day!)

    1. :) Love the passion you have for this!! I also LOVE using my D.E.A.R. time for other things like partner reading and read aloud connection activities. Unfortunately, there are few that ruin for all in some cases. lol

      Our school doesn't implement the Daily 5, but we do an amazing job with our leveled reading groups, word work, and writer's workshops! :)

      THanks for the comment!



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