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A Daily DEAR Program: Drop Everything, and Read!
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Recurring Lesson|
|Estimated Time||One 30-minute session daily|
A daily DEAR program (Drop Everything and Read) provides students with much more than a just-sit-there-and-read experience. It gives the teacher a structured time to touch base with each student over a period of time, assess progress, and target instruction. Even more important, it gives students time to read what they want to read, share what they've read, and receive the support they need for further reading explorations and reflections. Daily reading sessions last between twenty and thirty minutes and are followed by fifteen minutes in which students can write in their reading response logs. When a student completes a book, he or she conferences with the teacher to discuss the book and share his or her reading log. PAL book talk sessions with adult volunteers follow. Volunteers spent less than ten minutes discussing the book with the student and follow up with a brief note of encouragement.
Questions to Use in Book Chats: This printable sheet provides a set of questions that can be used during student-teacher or student-volunteer conferences, after independent reading sessions.
Deb Foertsch, who's reading program inspired this lesson, says her ideas are based on these beliefs about literacy instruction and learning: Students learn best
- in a community of learners;
- in a safe environment;
- when reading, writing, speaking, and listening occur across the curriculum;
- when literacy instruction blends demonstration and explanation, guided and independent practice, teacher and student support, individual pursuits, student choices, and teacher direction; and
- when learning is student-centered, with hands, minds, and hearts engaged.
This lesson draws on all these beliefs as part of a daily reading program where students select their own readings and share their reactions to the texts with others in the learning community.
Fleisher, Cathy, Kathleen Hayes-Parvin, and Julie A. King. "Becoming Proactive: The Quiet Revolution" Voices from the Middle 6.3 (March 1999): 3-10.
This lesson is based on Deb Foertsch's Large-Group Instruction, as described in Sierra-Perry, Martha. 1996. Standards in Practice: Grades 3-5. Urbana: NCTE. pp. 2-25.