Teaching · 23 June 2023

The DEAR Programme: Positive Views on Cultivating Reading Habits

Reading habits have been a concern in education systems worldwide. Students often struggle to develop a love for reading and lack the motivation to read extensively. To address this issue, various reading programs, such as the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Programme[1]Haron, N. and Shaik-Abdulllah, S. (2012) It’s time to read: Students and teachers talk about the D.E.A.R. programme. The Science and Art of Language Teaching International Conference (SALT). … Continue reading, have been implemented in schools. However, there is a lack of research on teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the DEAR Programme.

This article explored the views of students and teachers regarding the implementation of the DEAR Programme in a secondary school in Malaysia:

  • The DEAR Programme, based on the concept of sustained silent reading (SSR), aims to encourage students to read self-selected materials silently without interruption for an extended period of time. It involves providing students with the freedom to choose their own reading materials, creating a conducive reading environment, and allocating regular time for reading.
  • Previous research on SSR programs has shown positive impacts on students’ reading habits, enjoyment, independent reading, and overall reading achievement. Students, who have the freedom to choose their reading materials, tend to be more motivated to read. The quiet environment created during the DEAR activity helps students focus, especially those who lack a suitable reading environment at home. Peer influence also plays a role, and students are more likely to read when they see their friends engaged in reading.
  • Through interviews with ten teachers and twenty-two students, several themes emerged. The freedom to choose reading materials was seen as a significant benefit, as it sparked students’ interest and motivated them to read. However, some students felt that a certain level of guidance was necessary to prevent the selection of less appropriate materials.
  • Students appreciated the quiet reading environment provided during the DEAR activity. It allowed them to concentrate without distractions, and the presence of peers engaged in reading positively influenced students to develop reading habits.
  • Readers considered allocated time for the DEAR activity beneficial because they often lacked time to read outside of school.
  • The duration of each session was seen as suitable – neither too long nor too short – allowing students to engage in sustained reading without feeling overwhelmed.

The findings of this study indicate that both students and teachers perceive the DEAR Programme positively. They identified the freedom to choose reading materials, the quiet reading environment and the allocated time for reading as key factors in cultivating positive reading habits.

Further research on the DEAR Programme and its impact on students’ reading habits could provide valuable insights for educators and policymakers. By prioritising reading programs like DEAR, schools can foster a love for reading, enhance students’ language proficiency, and promote lifelong learning.

Research Gate: Sarimah Shaik-Abdulllah and Noorazalia Izha Haron

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1 Haron, N. and Shaik-Abdulllah, S. (2012) It’s time to read: Students and teachers talk about the D.E.A.R. programme. The Science and Art of Language Teaching International Conference (SALT). Universiti Teknologi MARA, Perlis, Malaysia, 10th September 2012.