Drop Everything And Read for dyslexia
This Spring, global dyslexia positivity movement Succeed With Dyslexia are building on the successes of their Go Red for Dyslexia awareness campaign with a renewed focus on reading
According to figures from the Department for Education, in the year 2018 around 1 in 5 children in the UK left their primary school unable to read. These figures are shocking- but they're also thought to have become even more so in the past three years thanks to the effects on education wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. That means that in a class of thirty Year 6 students, between six and seven of them will go to high school with levels of reading that'll make it difficult for them to keep up with their peers. A large number of these students will go on to become an adult with low literacy too - one of over 7.2 million people with low literacy living in the UK today.
Having low literacy skills isn't just a matter of not being able to pick up a book and read it - it can also have a powerful impact on an individual's life chances, lived experience, mental health and even how they socialise and relax. Many people find themselves locked out of an ever-technologising workplace, or struggling to help the children and young people in their lives with their own learning.
DEAR for Dyslexia is a global initiative that wants to encourage, bolster and support reading skills for all. Learners, parents and the educators that guide and support them are encouraged to nurture a love for literacy in any way that they can, and build assistive technology into their reading regimens to support readers with dyslexia and literacy differences. The vision behind the campaign is a world where many more people leave primary education with stronger foundations in literacy, as well as the knowledge and support that they need to make reading an ongoing part of their lives.
The campaign is based on the idea of creating a more accessible kind of 'DEAR' that everybody can take part in. DEAR itself is a literacy challenge popular in the early 2000s and still practised in many schools around the world today. The letters stand for ‘Drop Everything and Read’, and it's a classroom activity where for a short period of time everybody, regardless of age or ability, stops what they are doing to focus on reading. But for people with low literacy, dyslexia and even other neurodiversities, D.E.A.R. can feel restrictive, or isolating - some people need support to read, and some need different stimuli, and some simply don't read well in a classroom environment.
DEAR for Dyslexia refocuses traditional 'DEAR time' and celebrates the real ways that people of all ages read. From traditional novels to audiobooks to comic books, textbooks and eBooks, it’s a shared experience where everybody comes together in a community that’s focused on developing a love of reading, and breaking down the stigma that surrounds reading aids and assistive technology in the process. It's not just about fostering a culture of reading in schools, although schools are very much encouraged to take part- it's about getting everybody reading, from the youngest learners still developing key literacy skills to students, people learning English, vulnerable adults, parents, and even educators themselves. And it's not about forcing the act of reading, either - it's about finding ways to make reading time comfortable, unique, interesting and enjoyable, and opening up bigger conversations about literacy and accessibility as we come together as a society to create a more inclusive future.
A series of national lockdowns saw many people, young and old, turn to books as a source of escapism and learning. But as the world begins to move again, many of us have moved back into established routines, and might be struggling to find the time and effort to dedicate to reading for pleasure. But with an exciting six-week programme of media and events taking place throughout March and April there's never been a better time to get reading. Featuring celebrity interviews, book giveaways, assistive technology recommendations and expert advice, DEAR for Dyslexia is gearing up to make Spring the season where we all get into books and make reading time our own - as well as appreciate the importance of developing support strategies that work for those readers who need them, too.
The 2022 campaign also concludes with a DEAR for Dyslexia Learning Festival held in April that takes an academic look at how to foster better reading practise in education, and features an all-star panel of the educators, specialists and researchers who are out there making a difference to readers everywhere.
Find out more by dropping Succeed With Dyslexia a line at email@example.com or visiting us online at www.dearfordyslexia.org.