BUENA PARK – Gilbert School kindergarten teacher Leslee Milch said her favorite aspect of summer is being able to read her favorite books, complete with silly voices and singing, for students and community members through her weekly Read with Me! program at Bellis Park.

Milch, a National Board Certified Teacher, created the program more than 20 years ago when she realized many of her students had few opportunities to practice their reading skills during summer break.

Since then, Read with Me! has expanded to include visits from the Buena Park Police Department, free food from Premier Chevrolet of Buena Park and Giving Children Hope. Children can check out books from the Buena Park Pop Up Mobile Library while adults participate in free parenting classes led by various community groups. Read with Me! now averages more than 100 visitors each week.

“Read with Me! is the highlight of my summer,” Milch said. “I get to read and have a good time outside in the sun with my students and the community.”

Yesenia Vasquez said she and her daughter, Pendleton School sixth-grader Yesenia Vasquez, love attending the weekly summer readings because Milch always does an amazing job reading the books and gathering guests to speak about staying safe and healthy.

“We love the fact that this program is available to everyone in the community,” Vasquez said. “It’s so great to have a weekly reading program and facts about nutritious and healthy eating.”

Read with Me! is held at 1 p.m. Wednesdays through July 17 at Bellis Park.


070218_BUENAPARK_READ: Gilbert School kindergarten teacher Leslee Milch reads “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!” – her favorite book – to community members during a Read with Me! event.