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HUNTINGTON — Students at Covenant School took a break from their regular studies to relax and enjoy a day of reading on the annual D.E.A.R. Day.

“It’s an acronym for ‘Drop Everything and Read,’” said third-grade teacher Susan Brooks. “It’s just to encourage that reading is a delightful thing to do. It doesn’t have to be a chore.”

Rather than spend the day before Thanksgiving studying math and history, the students had fun activities and were able to relax while parents and teachers came in to read stories about horses, dragons and more.

D.E.A.R. Day began when Covenant School was founded in 1995 and takes place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and teachers said it has always been a hit with students.

The students get to loosen up by skipping their usual uniforms and instead dress down with lounge-wear and are allowed to bring in blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or whatever makes them comfortable.

First-grade teacher Mindy Stanley said she enjoys D.E.A.R. Day because first grade is the first year students get to experience the dedicated reading day without the added work that usually comes with reading in school.

“It’s just a time to promote literature and the importance of just enjoying a book,” Stanley said. “You don’t have to be in a reading group. You don’t have to do a worksheet with it. You don’t have to have discussions with it. It’s just enjoying the story and I think all of us need to do that, even as adults.”

Stanley, who has been teaching for 46 years and formerly taught in Cabell County schools, said D.E.A.R. Day was adopted from Cabell County Schools when she began working at Covenant School in 1995.

Though parents are often involved with the school, she said, it’s an extra day that they can come be around their kids and help remind them of how fun reading can be.

Other grades participated in activities learning about pilgrims and Native Americans, medieval time periods and more during the day.

Covenant School is a Christian K-12 school located at 2400 Johnstown Road in Huntington.

Sarah Ingram is a reporter for HD Media, covering Wayne County. Follow her on Twitter @IngramWCn.

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