Celebrate D.E.A.R. Day With Us!

Have you found yourself overwhelmed? Loads of chores to do? Tired after a long day? Well, why don’t you just Drop Everything And Read! 

D.E.A.R. Day was established to encourage readers young and old to make reading a priority. Further, organizers hope that families find themselves motivated to put aside all distractions and enjoy reading a book together.  That first step can lead to rewarding new reading habits that last a lifetime. 

D.E.A.R. Day was first inspired by a passage from the beloved book, Romona Quimby, Age 8 (1981), by Beverly Cleary. It’s why D.E.A.R. Day is nationally celebrated in tandem with Cleary’s birthday every April.

You can celebrate and carry Beverly Cleary’s legacy forward with a number of classics, such as the Ramona Quimby, the Henry Huggins, or the Ralph S. Mouse series. Whether you’re reading a picture book, a graphic novel, or a chapter book, take some time out of your day to enjoy a story. But don’t just Drop Everything And Read today— by finding time in your schedule for a great book, you can make reading a daily hobby. 









Looking for ways to celebrate D.E.A.R. Day?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Read Aloud – Settle in with a book of your choice and read it aloud for at least 15 minutes. With our reading tips, you can make reading aloud a fun activity for the whole family on D.E.A.R. Day – and beyond.
  • Shared Space Reading – If you prefer to read independently, but still want to spend time with your family, select your own books and read together in a shared space. At the end of your reading period, take a few minutes to share what you read about. You might find yourself interested in trading books! 
  • Library Visit – Take a trip to your public library. Most libraries allow you to check out at least ten books at a time, but if you don’t have a library card, it’s a short, easy process that will grant you access to your library’s collection of books, music, and movies. 
  • Roundabout Retelling – Once you’ve read a section from your book of choice, take a few minutes to talk about what you’ve read. Share your favorite parts – the scenes that stood out, the language or imagery that touched you, or a piece of dialogue that made you laugh. So long as you’re spending time with the text and sharing your thoughts, you’re doing it right! 
  • Writing Prompts – This is your opportunity to be creative. Imagine the story from the point of view of another character. Write about how you would act if you were suddenly dropped into the book you’re reading. Or maybe write a short story of your own! Then, share that work by either reading it aloud or letting a family member take a look. 
  • Reflections – If you prefer to keep your thoughts between you and the text, jot down your impressions in a notebook. Here, you can discuss anything you’d like — what about your reading excites you? How does the main character resonate with you? What about the plot or characters encouraged you to find out what happened next? It can even be as simple as sharing a few sentences about what you’ve read. If you keep it up, you may even find yourself in the habit of keeping a reading journal! 

Banks Sponsor Schools in Virginia Reads One Book 2021

The Virginia Reads One Book program has been a huge hit with families and schools since its launch in 2018. Though the program was presented digitally for its fourth run, it didn’t stop students across Virginia from spending three weeks getting to know the cast of E.B. White’s timeless classic, The Trumpet of the Swan. The novel also serves as a Financial Literacy title, planting the seeds for positive personal finance lessons just in time for Financial Literacy Month in April. 

Copies of Trumpet were received at Buckingham County Elementary by principal, Bryan Jackson (left)

For the 2021 reading event, 19 schools across the state were sponsored by Virginia banks and the Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Education Foundation.

According to Monica McDearmon, a manager of communications and financial education at the VBA, the state of Virginia is “leading the charge in personal finance and economics education thanks to efforts from banks, teachers, school administrators, and other organizations that promote financial literacy in Virginia.”

Participating banks were eager to offer their aid in providing students and their families a fun, creative way to participate in VAROB at home.

“The VBA Education Foundation provided links of recordings of chapter readings to participating schools,”  said McDearmon. She adds that bank sponsors were able to offer their support both virtually and in-person: “Our banks were encouraged to be involved at kick-off ceremonies; provide trivia prizes to students; serve as guest readers; and present financial literacy lessons that correlated to the themes of the book.”

Though the 2021 program’s launch differs from previous reading events, Michelle Mogel from TowneBank Richmond views the digital aspects as a strength. Covid-19 has allowed the banks to broaden their support to “middle and high school students,” said Mogel. “We have been sharing lessons about balancing family budgets (income-vs-expenses) and careers in banking.”

The overarching belief among each sponsor is that children are never too young to learn about the importance of smart financial decisions.

FirstBank employee looking eager to dive into all things Financial Literacy

“Learning to make wise choices with money and the importance of saving are just as important as habits like brushing our teeth and eating fruits and vegetables,” says Mogel. “Empowering children with responsible financial behavior will help them discern the confusing messages about spending in our culture.”

McDearmon adds that planting these seeds early can aid students in navigating how to “manage money and make good financial decisions [that] will ensure that they grow up to be educated consumers.”

Christian S. Kent of Chesapeake Bank points out that Financial Literacy has a vital role in poverty reduction.

“It is important for parents and children to understand money basics, to learn how to manage finances well, and make better lifestyle decisions,” says Kent. “VAROB strengthens these efforts by uniting parents and schools for more consistent messaging and shared activities that hopefully provide positive bonds to family and also money beliefs. Financial literacy teaches children important skills as they develop and hopefully refreshes the parents and encourages more conversations.”

Students were eager to delve into this E.B. White classic!

In The Trumpet of the Swan, students follow the story of Louis, a Trumpeter Swan who is born without a voice.  During the book he works a series of jobs – camp bugler, entertaining the Boston Swan Boats, at a jazz club in Philadelphia – and earns the money to pay for the trumpet that gives him a voice.  Along the way students get a great lesson in earning and savings – inspired by this intrepid swan.


The text is layered with many other great financial literacy themes, says McDearmon. She points out that these topics include “the difference between needs and wants; the importance of saving; understanding money; profits and losses; and goods and services.”

Finances can be intimidating. Budgeting, earning money, working a job, and making purchases are things everyone has to learn at one point in their lives. By participating in VAROB, these Financial Literacy building blocks are presented in a format that is equal parts fun, encouraging, and helpful, as students build their knowledge of basic economic concepts. 

Kent goes on to add that, “Financial challenges also create an opportunity to learn new skills and models in which to live by.” It reinforces the idea that though students may face a multitude of challenges in their lives, by learning and using these skills, students can curate a toolkit that will “better prepare them for success in the future.”

VAROB 2022 will launch in March of next year. Read to Them, the VBA Education Foundation, and the plethora of bank sponsors are already looking ahead, eager to further enrich communities across Virginia with long-lasting Financial Literacy lessons.

Take a Journey ‘Into the Wardrobe’

“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice.

“When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way

of saying hello or good morning.”

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White


This past year has brought unprecedented changes to both our home and school lives. With greater frequency, people have turned to books as a means of solace and escape, sharing stories as a way of maintaining a vital piece of human connection that’s been lost during the age of COVID-19. 

Read to Them is constantly striving to promote ways to expose educators, families, and students to the world of language and the pleasures of reading. In an effort to further these endeavors, Read to Them is launching Into the Wardrobe

Into the Wardrobe is designed to support Read to Them’s mission to create a culture of literacy in every home. Here, we’ll highlight schools across the country — and even some of our friends abroad! — who have participated in our programs as well as some of our community partners. We’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with authors from our book list, highlighting literacy-based holidays, and taking you behind the scenes of Read to Them in a way we’ve never done previously. Best of all, we’ll be curating pieces designed as building blocks for families to further support the love of reading and literacy across the country. 

Posts will begin rolling out next Friday. See you soon!