The Magic of Shared Reading: Celebrating D.E.A.R. Day

Family of three cuddled on couch reading a book together.

Reading is one of those activities we usually do on our own. We dive into the pages of our latest novel, and if you’re one of our subscribers, you will also be anticipating opening those surprise gifts. It’s our little bit of literary escape that brings us endless joy.

But shared reading is magical, and now that it’s Drop Everything and Read Day, what better way to celebrate than to share our love for reading with others? Shared reading creates connections, memories, and shared experiences. It is when we can turn a solitary journey into a shared adventure. Let’s transform reading from a singular experience into a communal celebration of stories and literacy!

Graphic for National Drop Everything and Read Day with book cover.

When is National Drop Everything and Read Day?

How fabulous to have a day dedicated to dropping everything and just reading! We can’t wait to get going. D.E.A.R. Day is an annual celebration that takes place right here in the U.S. on the 12th of April. As the name suggests, it is all about dropping everything and spending time reading. Schools, libraries, and families across the country participate, turning an ordinary day into an extraordinary reading marathon.

The origin of D.E.A.R. Day is inspired by renowned American author Beverly Cleary’s beloved character Ramona Quimby, who participates in a D.E.A.R. session in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8. April 12th isn’t a random date! D.E.A.R. Day was established in 2006 by publisher HarperCollins Children’s Books, in collaboration with the National Education Association and other educational institutions, to commemorate Cleary’s 90th birthday.

Drop Everything and Read Day 2024 is set to bring families, friends, and communities together for shared reading fun. This day reminds us of the simple pleasure found in turning pages and immersing ourselves in a story. It’s a day when books become the center of attention and overshadow the digital distractions and business of our daily lives.

So, make sure to mark your calendars, grab your family and friends, and get your books ready for moments of shared reading fun!

Shared Reading Family Activities for D.E.A.R. Day

Drop Everything and Read Day provides families the perfect opportunity to have fun. What better way to create memories and strengthen your family bonds than through the joy of celebrating books and shared reading?  

Here are some special ways families can participate in shared reading on D.E.A.R. Day:

Plan a D.E.A.R. Day Kick-off

Begin D.E.A.R. Day with a special breakfast where each family member shares what books they would like to read. This is a great way to get everyone excited about the books that have been chosen. It is going to be a wonderful day of adventures!

Young girl engrossed in reading under a cozy lit tent made of blankets.

Create a Cozy Reading Nook

Let’s make D.E.A.R. day extra special by transforming an area of your home into a comfortable and inviting reading nook for the day. Fill it with pillows, blankets, and maybe even some special lighting, and don’t forget those all-important bookish snacks and drinks!

Drop Everything and Read Together

Yes, it’s time to synchronize your watches and set your alarms. Decide on a specific time when everyone in the family stops what they are doing and reads together. You can each take turns reading out loud, listen to an audiobook, or everyone can read their own book quietly. The key is to enjoy the act of reading together.

Take the time to share what you’ve read with each other. You can discuss the characters, the plot, and what you like about the book. A great way to get your kids to think outside the box is to have them come up with their own ending. For those of you with younger children, you can get them to draw a picture of their favorite character or part of the book they enjoyed the most.

You can even make your D.E.A.R. Day a big party by inviting friends or extended family to join virtually or in person. Shared reading isn’t just about reading together; why not share your favorite books, authors, and genres? It’s a brilliant way to broaden your discussion and introduce younger children to different concepts.

You can ask questions like:

  • Which is your favorite genre to read and why?
  • Who is your favorite author, and why do you like them?
  • What do you think this character looks like, and why?
  • Which part of the book did you most enjoy?

Visit a Local Library or Bookstore

Make sure to keep an eye out for ways your community is celebrating D.E.A.R. Day and support them where possible. You’re bound to find libraries and bookstores with special events or readings to join.

Mother and daughter reading with joy under warm light, cozy ambiance.

End the Day with a Storytime

We can’t think of a better way to end D.E.A.R. Day than with family storytime. Why not find your old favorite bedtime story or let your kids choose one of their special books? This is a fabulous way to wind down the day and share the joy of reading one last time before bedtime.

The Importance of National Reading Days

We have so many marvelous national reading days besides D.E.A.R. Day, like National Read Across America Day, which we just celebrated. April is a wonderful month for book lovers—besides D.E.A.R, we also have World Book Day and National Library Week!

And then, of course, Children’s Book Week is held in May and November. Did you know it’s the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country? In November, we have National Family Literacy Day—yes, a day filled with family bookish fun.

These days are so important as they remind us that in a world filled with noise and distraction, there’s tranquility and adventure to be found within the pages of a book. And perhaps more importantly, they are a reminder that stories are not just meant to be read, but shared.


Let’s come together and bring the magic of shared reading to life! By embracing all the joy this wonderful day has to offer, we can share our love for reading, build memories, create shared moments, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends.

It doesn’t matter how busy we are, there’s always time to drop everything and read. Happy Drop Everything and Read Day from all of us here at Once Upon a Book Club!