Howard urges students to ‘Drop Everything and Read’

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Have you watched it?”

“No, but everyone’s talking about it. I really want to watch it.”

“What are we talking about?” I asked, entering this conversation between two juniors in the writing workroom.

Pelham High School Media Specialist Daria Howard led the entire school community in a Drop Everything and Read Celebration. (Contributed)

The students named a book I’d read as the subject of their conversation—only they named this title as a Netflix series and they did not know that the television show had first been a novel.

“See if the library has the book,” I suggested. “It’s such an interior story. You’ll know more than everyone watching the series if you’ve read the book—and you’ll enjoy the story more.”

In our noisy world, text is sometimes forgotten. However, on April 12, Pelham High School Media Specialist Daria Howard reminded our high school community of the significance of pleasure reading by initiating our annual observance of DEAR (Drop Everything and Read).

Before coming to PHS, Howard spent her first 14 years in education teaching fifth grade. She saw the correlation between student reading for enjoyment and student success.

“High school students, busy with their difficult courses and many resource books, must remember that they are still allowed to read for pleasure. We’re never too old to read for pleasure,” said Howard.

Howard agreed with my philosophy that everyone really loves to read; however, some people are still looking for what they love to read. Of course, Howard is thrilled to assist students in their search and so am I.

During our DEAR time, my Competitive Writing Scholarship Search gathered their reading material and I set my alarm so we wouldn’t miss DEAR. I heard one student grumble, “I hate to read!”

I looked at her with surprise.

“I mean I am still looking for what I love to read,” she said sheepishly.

The fact that my student knew my reading mantra made me smile.

“I’m happy to help you find a book,” I responded.

Daria Howard, PHS media specialist extraordinaire, used DEAR to remind our school that the quest for that next book we love continues for a lifetime.