Chantry Academy gets pupils and staff to ‘drop everything and read’ for 10 minutes

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school (including staff) drop what they are doing and pick up a book for 10 minutes to read. Pictured is Alisha Reid. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A new project which aims to highlight the importance of reading is proving a page turner in the latest chapter of one Ipswich school’s story, as youngsters and staff alike are encouraged to ‘drop everything and read’.

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school (including staff) drop what they are doing and pick up a book for 10 minutes to read. Pictured is Alisha Reid. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Chantry Academy launched the scheme after the Christmas holidays. Named DEAR for short, it features a 10 minute window each day for the whole school to pick up a book, newspaper or magazine and read without any distractions.

Each year group has been allocated slots to visit the school library to loan out books, but are also being encouraged to bring in their own books they enjoy reading or pick up a newspaper to inspire debate around social issues.

Chantry Academy principal Craig D’Cunha said that dropping everything for 10 minutes was a statement of intent about how important reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is to those at the school.

“It’s about everybody at the same time reading, and reading for enjoyment,” he said.

Chantry Academy headteacher Craig D'Cunha.

Chantry Academy headteacher Craig D'Cunha. - Credit: Gregg Brown


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“We talk about it not being a task but about enjoyment and about building memories. My favourite book is because it links back to a time and look upon it as doing something special.”

Mr D’Cunha said that encouraging the opportunities to read in school would also make pupils more likely to continue reading for pleasure at home and that it would also have benefits in their reading ability.

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“It will increase understanding, vocabulary and confidence, and it’s really quite important because there is a significant number of children here that don’t have that background of previous reading,” Mr D’Cunha added.

The school was inspired by similar projects in the USA and other schools in the country, but getting staff involved has also proved to be a key element.

“What’s been great is the staff have turned around and said ‘you know what? It’s nice to take 10 minutes to read,’ and it’s important the pupils can model their reading on them,” Mr D’Cunha said.

“There’s a need in every school that children need to read more and we as educators need to provide that opportunity.”

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