Schoolchildren in Ganjam district of Odisha are being lured into the reading and writing habit in an entertaining manner through a unique project named ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR).DEAR, an innovative interactive library movement project, was initiated in the district around three years ago. It has already earned national recognition. In 2015, the project was selected for a national award for innovation in educational administration. The project was started in Ganjam district in December 2014 in around 1,000 schools. At present, the project is successfully continuing in over 4,000 government managed or aided schools of Ganjam district.“This project targeted the alarming issue of declining reading habit among school students, which was also affecting their writing skills. Students were found to be concerned only about their textbooks and we wanted to make the children feel that reading is linked to studies and examination only. It can also be entertaining and activity of pleasure,” said District Education Officer (DEO) of Ganjam, Sanatan Panda.Dearth of booksBut dearth of adequate number of books in schools, especially the rural ones, was a major obstacle in the path of enhancing the reading habit among students. In addition, books in school libraries also remained locked in almirahs, out of reach of the students. As an initial step, all schools in Ganjam district were advised to display most books in their libraries before students. Books in school libraries were also segregated as per their suitability for children of different age groups.