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'Drop Everything and Read' community event March 2
Julianne Foster

Event starts at 8:30 am and lasts only 15 minutes

An initiative started several years ago at Carrollton Junior High School and a social media campaign born during a snowstorm together sparked an idea to celebrate Read Across America Day not only in schools, but throughout our community.

Laurie Fleck, director of Community Engagement for Carrollton City Schools, had the idea to put the two events together to broaden community reach and celebrate literacy through the power of reading.

"Three years ago, when our area was hit by a snowstorm, we had an idea to issue a snow day reading challenge," said Fleck. "We used the tag #readwestga for a broad social media push that in one day reached more than 13,000 people." Fleck added that families shared 106 pictures of their kids reading on the original Facebook post. "More reading followed as the challenge went viral in our community for several days," she said.

Fleck said that original idea has sparked a new one as the district approached annual Read Across America Day events. 

"Carrollton Junior High has a tradition of 'Drop Everything and Read’ days that Principal Travis Thomaston began as a way to encourage reading amongst staff and students," she said. The DEAR Days project illustrates the school's commitment to reading which aligns with the district's broader literacy initiative. Watch the video at right of Thomaston encouraging others to participate in the DEAR event.

"With some students still learning from home and some parents working from home, what better way to celebrate reading on Read Across America Day than a community-wide reading event that can be done anywhere,” said Fleck.

Fleck said the hope is this event, too, will go viral and pictures of people all over our community reading will be posted. The community DEAR event will be held next Tuesday, March 2 (Dr. Seuss' birthday), at 8:30 a.m. and will last for 15 minutes.

"Whether it is a favorite book, the local paper or a hobby magazine, the options are endless and we hope that our community will have fun joining together in this way," she said.