I have always loved to read. As a child, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louise Fitzhugh were my favorite authors. I became quite attached to the librarian at my elementary school. I went to visit her house on weekends. By the way, I've looked for her for about 10 years--I think she died. I wanted to tell her how much she shaped my life and express gratitude. But back to the story...
Almost 20 years ago, my oldest daughter started school in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was one of the best schools ever. Her principal, David Rotter, enacted something called DEAR time. It stood for DROP EVERYTHING AND READ. Once a week, he would go to the PA System and announce, "It's DEAR time." That meant that for the next 45 minutes, everyone in the school, from the janitors and cafeteria workers to the students and secretaries--even teachers, had to pick up something and read. It could be a magazine, newspaper, novel, or anything other reading material. But you had to read until he announced that DEAR time was over.
It was kind of weird the first couple times that I experienced it, seeing everyone flipping pages and engrossed in reading. But then, I got the hang of it and started bringing a book with me during my volunteer shifts, just in case Mr. Rotter called for DEAR time. After a few years, he retired and someone else took over. I'm not sure how or why, but DEAR time went away. I thought it was a great idea and I missed it. What could be better for our children than instilling a love of reading and learning?