Waxahachie ISD celebrated its 23rd annual D.E.A.R. Day on Feb. 21 by having volunteers read to students.

D.E.A.R. Day is a day where schools make time to drop everything and read. The scheduled times to read were at 8:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.

Bart Underwood came to read at his alma mater, Northside Elementary, for the 8:45 a.m. reading time.

Underwood attended Northside Elementary in 1960 as a fifth-grader.

He was reading to students on D.E.A.R. Day for the second time as a volunteer. This time, he read to Mrs. Gattin’s fourth-grade class.

“It’s an honor to be here with y’all to read, and so I’ll just do the best I can,” he said to the students.

Underwood chose to read "Dolphin Treasure" by Wayne Grover. As he read, he stopped and asked questions to keep the students engaged.

“These kids are just wonderful kids, very attentive. And, you don’t realize how they’re listening until you ask them questions, and they’re so bright,” Underwood shared.

Volunteers read for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it was announced over the intercom that the time for reading was complete. Readers signed up by filling out a form and returning it to the Partners in Education office.

For the reading time at 10:15 a.m., football players from Southwestern Assemblies of God University read at Felty Elementary School. Gennard Johnson, one of the coaches at SAGU, used to attend the school and participated in D.E.A.R. Day as a listener then. Now, he is a reader for the day. 

According to the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, “Over 500 volunteers from businesses, service organizations, churches, colleges, and PTO’s will be on WISD campuses to read to classrooms in a community-wide reading effort to stress the value and the joy of reading by providing reading role models.”

This day is designed to remind families to make reading a priority activity in their lives.

Businesses, organizations and individuals donated books, so that every elementary classroom in WISD had at least one new book for the day.