Grade 9 students' perceptions of the impact of a Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) program /
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Educators continually look for strategies to enhance and improve the reading practices of their students. This is an especially challenging task for secondary level teachers as high school students often lack intrinsic motivation to read for pleasure (Bucher & Manning, 2004; Horton, 2005; Wooicott, Research Pty. Ltd. 2001). The purpose of this study was to detennine the effects of the Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) program on writing, on reading, and on grades, from the perspective of eight Grade 9 students. Of particular interest were the students' perceptions of the effect that participation in the program had on their grades, their writing, their motivation to reading, and their concept of themselves as readers. The eight participants were tracked over the course of a semester. Using qualitative research techniques, data were collected from four sources: two student surveys, researcher's daily field observations, students' weekly reading logs, and three open-ended one-on-one interviews. In order to gain an understanding of the impact of the D.E.A.R program, the data were corroborated, and analyzed with NVivo: N7 (2006). From the data analysis, five themes emerged as a function of the Grade 9 students' experiences in the D.E.A.R. program: Reading Preferences, Time Spent Reading, Making Associations with Reading for Pleasure, Perceptions of Self-as-Reader, and Evaluations of the D.E.A.R Program. In the interest of supporting students' positive reading habits and for the future implementation, these five themes are presented as a series of findings together with recommendations for practice.