Celebrating D.E.A.R. Day (April 12), Promoting a Love of Reading and Literacy


Learn about the history of DEAR Day, fun activities to celebrate the event, and why we love this annual celebration that promotes reading and fosters a sense of community.

DEAR Day stands for “Drop Everything And Read Day.” It is a designated time, usually lasting for a day, in which individuals are encouraged to take a break from their regular activities and read books or other reading materials. This event is often observed in schools and libraries, where students and staff members are encouraged to read silently for a set amount of time or throughout the day. The goal of DEAR Day is to promote reading as a valuable and enjoyable activity and to encourage individuals to make reading a part of their daily routine.

History of D.E.A.R. Day

DEAR Day has its roots in the “Drop Everything And Read” program that was developed by Beverly Cleary, a well-known American author of children’s books. The program was inspired by a letter that Cleary received from a young reader, who suggested that schools should have a special time each day when students can stop what they are doing and read for pleasure.

Cleary liked the idea and worked with her publisher to create promotional materials for the program, including posters and bookmarks. The program was first launched in the early 1980s and quickly gained popularity among educators, librarians, and parents who saw the value of encouraging reading as a regular activity.

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Over time, the program evolved into DEAR Day, which is now celebrated annually in schools and libraries around the world. The day is typically held on April 12th, which is Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Many schools and libraries use the day to promote reading and to encourage students to develop a love of books and a habit of reading for pleasure.


D.E.A.R. Day Timeline

Here is a timeline of some significant events related to DEAR Day:

1981: Beverly Cleary receives a letter from a young reader who suggests that schools should have a special time each day when students can stop what they are doing and read for pleasure.

1982: Beverly Cleary creates the “Drop Everything And Read” program and begins promoting it to schools and libraries across the United States.

1997: The National Education Association (NEA) launches “Read Across America,” a program designed to promote reading and literacy among children.

1998: The NEA partners with Beverly Cleary to promote DEAR Day as part of Read Across America. DEAR Day is held on Beverly Cleary’s birthday, April 12th.

2003: The Read Across America program expands to include a week-long celebration of reading, with DEAR Day as one of the key events.

2012: DEAR Day is celebrated in schools and libraries around the world, with millions of participants taking part in the event.


2020: The COVID-19 pandemic leads to widespread school closures and the cancellation of many DEAR Day events. Some schools and libraries adapt by hosting virtual DEAR Day events to promote reading among students who are learning remotely.

2021: DEAR Day is celebrated on April 12th with a mix of in-person and virtual events, as schools and libraries continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

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D.E.A.R. Day Activities

There are many fun and engaging activities that can be done on DEAR Day to promote reading and encourage a love of books. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Silent Reading: Set aside a block of time, such as 30 minutes or an hour, where everyone in the classroom or library reads silently. Encourage students or participants to choose books that interest them, and provide a variety of reading materials, such as novels, comics, magazines, and newspapers.
  2. Reading Buddies: Pair up students or participants and have them take turns reading aloud to each other. This activity can be especially helpful for younger students who are still developing their reading skills.
  3. Book Talks: Have students or participants give short presentations or book talks about books they have read recently or that they are currently reading. This can be a great way to generate excitement about books and encourage others to read.
  4. Book Swap: Ask students or participants to bring in books they have already read and are willing to part with. Set up a book swap station where they can trade their books for others. This can be a great way to introduce participants to new authors and genres.
  5. Author Visit: Invite a local author to speak to students or participants about their work and the writing process. This can be a great way to inspire students and encourage them to become more involved in reading and writing.

These are just a few examples of activities that can be done on DEAR Day. The key is to make reading fun and engaging, and to encourage participants to develop a love of books that will last a lifetime.

Why We Love and Celebrate D.E.A.R. Day

There are many reasons why people love and celebrate DEAR Day. Here are a few:

  1. Promotes a love of reading: DEAR Day encourages individuals to take time out of their busy schedules to read for pleasure. This can help promote a love of reading and an appreciation for books, which can lead to lifelong learning and personal growth.
  2. Encourages literacy: Reading is an essential skill that is important for academic success and personal development. DEAR Day helps promote literacy by encouraging individuals to read and by providing access to books and reading materials.
  3. Fosters a sense of community: DEAR Day can be a great way to bring people together around a shared love of reading. It can be especially effective in schools and libraries, where it can help foster a sense of community and promote a culture of reading.
  4. Provides a break from routine: DEAR Day provides an opportunity to take a break from our busy lives and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading. It can be a refreshing change of pace that helps reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
  5. Inspires creativity and imagination: Reading can be a great way to spark creativity and imagination. DEAR Day encourages individuals to explore new worlds and ideas, which can lead to new insights and perspectives.

Overall, DEAR Day is a fun and engaging way to promote reading and encourage a love of books. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading and to inspire individuals to become lifelong learners.

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