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! 


Celebrating our Supporters of One Richmond, One Book

The second installment of our One Richmond, One Book program has come to a close. One Richmond, One Book will be occurring each fall and spring for ten years. This spring, students, families, teachers, and staff read Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier.

Over the summer, each student will receive one more book as part of our Superstar Summer Readers program. Our generous sponsor, Capital One, and their employees have been helping us prepare materials for the for the Superstar Summer Readers book give-away…

Capital One employees enthusiastically helped us pack over 13,000 books across multiple days. Students will receive a book, pencil, fruit snack, and some tips for families about reading aloud.

We couldn’t have made this program a reality without the help of Capital One and their generous employees! Their help with this program supports literacy across our city.

It is an honor to bring One Richmond, One Book and Superstar Summer Readers to Richmond and we are grateful for the dedicated volunteers, community members, and sponsors who helped make it happen!

Find more great pictures about our other programs on our Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram account.


A District-Wide Read Like No Other

A dream 12 years in the making has finally come to Lethbridge School District in Alberta, Canada. A One District, One Book program unlike any other, Lethbridge has done something totally unique.

Learning Support Teacher, Michelle Dimnik, has brought One School One Book to her school, Dr. Gerald B. Probe School, for 11 years. During that time, she dreamed of bringing this reading program to the entire district of 24 schools.

Through much dedication and hard work, and help from resource teams across the city, Dimnik has finally brought One District, One Book to all of Lethbridge this spring. They chose to read Wishtree by Newbery award-winning author, Katherine Applegate. It’s a transformative story that is inspiring readers and schools across North America.

Most incredible?  Dimnik actually recruited the involvement of every student in Lethbridge. From kindergarten to 12th grade, all students received their own copy of Wishtree to read together. Reading K-12 is unprecedented at the district level.

Even more exciting?  The district got a visit from Katherine Applegate!

Lethbridge truly got the community involved with the book. The shared reading experience was featured on local news numerous times including an article written by the Chief of Police. A One District One Book Lethbridge Twitter page was created to share pictures and celebrate successes.

Here’s to Lethbridge’s first district-wide read! We can’t wait for next year.

 

Interested in something like this in your district?

Get in touch with our office or find more information here.


Our Winter 2019 Newsletter Has Arrived!

It’s that time of year again, our winter newsletter is here! Check out some of the highlights below.

Read to Them‘s hometown participated in its first city-wide read this fall. The One Richmond, One Book program will continue in fall, spring, and summer for the next ten years!

“Seeing students and families reading across the city this fall demonstrated this is a program that can truly energize and unite our city,” said Richmond Mayor, Levar Stoney.

Each of the 13,000 students participating received their own copy of Friendship According to Humphrey. Read to Them will support three reading events a year for Richmond students.

In other news of important firsts, R. P. Connor Elementary School in New York participated in One School, One Book for the first time.

R. P. Connor was especially ambitious and put on two reading events; one in the fall (The Lemonade War) and one in spring (The World According to Humphrey). The entire community got involved, local businesses even posted signs in their windows supporting the read.

Read to Them‘s website homepage has recently been revamped. Check it out! We’ve added new video series too! Our staff members discuss their favorite titles in our  Why We Love Books video series.

Don’t miss our author spotlight with Monica Brown. She is the author of the Lola Levine series and over 20 award-winning picture books.

“I wanted to create a loving, multicultural family not unlike our own, where mixed-race children were not described in fractions, but rather as containing multitudes and whole just as they are!” explains Brown.

Poplar Grove Elementary School in Illinois kicked off their seventh year of One School, One Book this winter.

The school read one of our newest titles, Dragons and Marshmallows, from the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro. The title is full of science experiments, discovery, and friendship.

And don’t miss our tips from the field!

Advice on how to generate excitement from students and when to plan your reading event. 

Find all this and more in our full newsletter. Click here to download!

 


Bryan Elementary School Goes Above and Beyond!

Bryan Elementary School in Bryan, Ohio kicked off their One School, One Book event last month. They also hosted their first ever literacy night. We loved these pictures and had to share!

During their kickoff assembly, staff members competed in a “motorcycle” race! Maybe you guessed it…Bryan ES read The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. They also brought in an actual motorcycle and a Ralph stand-in.

Most impressive though, is this music video that involved just about everyone.

They made a parody of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Don’t miss it!

Bryan ES spread the word on social media.

The school got families involved on social media and spread the word about their literacy night on Facebook. Social media is a great way to remind parents of the reading schedule and special events.

Thank you for sharing these excellent pictures, Bryan Elementary School! Interested in bringing One School, One Book to your school? Click here.

 

 


Kate DiCamillo on the Unmatched Magic of Reading Aloud

What is it that makes reading aloud so special? And why was Read to Them founded on this very idea?

Author Kate DiCamillo recently shared an intriguing story from her childhood that offers a fantastic explanation. She was featured on a short PBS segment. (3 minutes!)

You can find the entire video here.

 

“Reading aloud ushers us into a third place, a safe room, it’s a room where everyone involved, reader and the listener, can put down their defenses and lower their guard”, says DiCamillo.

DiCamillo reminds us all of our memories being read to or reading to someone else. “We humans long not just for story, not just for the flow of language, but for the connection that comes when words are read aloud. That connection provides illumination, it lets us see each other.” These moments are so precious, despite their simplicity, and remembered for lifetimes.

Kate DiCamillo is the beloved author of four books on our list. From the classic novel  Because of Winn-Dixie to the thought provoking and heart-wrenching story that is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Not to mention two incredible Newbery Winners; The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & UlyssesThe Tale of Despereaux will delight and most likely make you crave a bowl of hot, delicious soup. Flora & Ulysses delivers with wonderous illustrations, a squirrel sidekick, and an increasingly intricate adventure.

There is plenty to discover in each of these books. Whatever you choose to read, share it! As DiCamillo explains, “when people talk about the importance of reading aloud they almost always mean an adult reading to a child. We forget about the surly adolescent, and the confused young adult, and the weary middle aged, and the lonely old. We need it too.”

“We all need it.”

Find the entire video and listen to DiCamillo’s excellent story here.


Our Fall 2018 Newsletter Is Here!

Our newest newsletter is officially here! Click here to download it. Check out some of the highlights below.

Students, families, and staff at Janet Kahn School of Integrated Arts (JKSIA) have read 12 books together over seven years of One School, One Book. Quite an accomplishment!

JKSIA staff Lisa Miller, Sierra Ryan, and Michelle Desiree Lobato

Clues, hints, and posters appear around the school leading up to OSOB. The school has announced the title in a variety of ways, including through school assemblies, guest performances, and even movie trailers.

Clues, a Kenny and the Dragon trivia box, and JKSIA staff: Terri Gaussoin and Christy Sigmon

“Our youngest kindergarteners who once had the story read to them are now the proud big brother or sister who is reading aloud to their younger siblings”, explains Terri Gaussoin, teacher librarian. Read more about the school’s creative approaches and student feedback in the newsletter!

Artist Zach Davis with his mural

A former student at Berlin Intermediate School in Maryland painted a beautiful mural based off two One School, One Book titles. Students at Berlin Intermediate read Wonder last year and Fish in a Tree this fall.

The beautiful mural even got author Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s attention. She tweeted praise for students who read her book, Fish in a Tree, in both English and Spanish.

Author Asia Citro and her book Zoey and Sassafras

Have you heard of our new title Zoey and Sassafras, Dragons and Marshmallows? Read our interview with the author, Asia Citro. Zoey and Sassafras weaves together science and imagination in a creative story.

Student actors kick of The Lemonade War

Beaverdam Elementary School involved student actors in their kickoff assembly. The actors swore not to reveal the chosen book title to their classmates until the assembly. Beaverdam kicked off The Lemonade War by expanding on Read to Them‘s assembly ideas. 

Check out our full newsletter here for more about these stories, tips from the field, and the full Asia Citro interview.