LA PUENTE, CA – Torch Middle School sixth-graders Monica Gomez and Emma Beas took turns flipping the pages of Dr. Seuss’ In a People House in front of a Sunkist Elementary fourth-grade classroom, reading aloud and sharing images of the story to their youngest peers.

Gomez and Beas returned to their elementary school to celebrate the beloved author’s birthday on March 2, concluding the annual Read Across America week.

“It was so great to come back and see my old teachers and read to the little kids,” Gomez said. “I want to be a teacher, so this is a fun experience and it’s a great way to end Read Across America week.”

Torch’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students read at Sunkist, while Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students read at Van Wig Elementary, celebrating the literacy campaign launched in 1998 by the National Education Association.

“I am so proud of these students and I commend them for reading in front of an audience, and speaking with clarity and enthusiasm,” Sunkist fourth-grade teacher Maria Barcelo said. “I love that our students can come back and show that they are Sunkist tigers at heart.”

Bassett Unified elementary and middle schools participated in activities and themed days throughout the week, including dressing up in wacky outfits and listening to guest readers.

Torch students went beyond sharing a love for reading by collecting donations for the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless, a local shelter that services women and children. For each themed activity day, students brought in books, socks and toothbrushes as a way to encourage community involvement. Donations will be delivered to the shelter at the end of March.

“Bassett Unified is dedicated to strengthening literacy and stirring a passion for reading in all of our students,” Interim Superintendent Debra French said. “We are so proud of our Torch students and staff for spreading that love of reading as well as providing needed supplies to help members of their own community.”


032018_BASSETT_READ1: Torch Middle School students Emma Beas (left) and Monica Gomez read Dr. Seuss’ In a People House in front of a Sunkist Elementary fourth-grade classroom on March 2 as part of Read Across America Week.

032018_BASSETT_ READ2: Sunkist Elementary Principal Jason Tveit wears the signature red and white striped hat from The Cat in the Hat as he reads to students on Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2.