On March 2, when Refinery Engineer Amber Fuller arrived at work, she quickly donned a headband with tall bright blue hair sticking out of it, grabbed a special book she selected and logged into a Zoom meeting to see the eager faces of Carr Elementary fourth graders and began to read to their delight, “I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I am. That Sam I am! That Sam I am! I do not like that Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham?” Meanwhile, in a conference room next door, Reliability Engineer Megan Begley started reading “one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…” to a group of excited fifth graders.

Megan and Amber joined other employee volunteers who read to students from Carr, Edison and Arlington elementary schools to celebrate “Read Across America Day,” a day of celebrating literacy held annually on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Technical Manager Julie Bofinger explored space travel in her book selection, “I was excited to participate. We would love to do this in person, but I’m glad we could be part of it despite of COVID-19 circumstances. We recognize reading is critical to learning, so hopefully this encourages them to explore the themes in each book. Besides, we get to wear a Dr. Seuss hat at work!”

Other volunteer readers were recorded and videos will be shared with students at the schools when they celebrate “Reading Week” as part of the “Read Across America” initiative.

Volunteers jumped at the chance to encourage students to experience the joy of reading and said they appreciate the opportunity to get involved in community activities. “It’s been a while since I’ve read a children’s book, so I enjoyed it,” said engineer Aaron Perez. “I also enjoyed interacting with the students and answering their questions. As a new employee, I am glad I joined a company that’s engaged in the community. COVID-19 has made it difficult for in-person activities, but I look forward to doing more in the future,” he added.

Arlington PTA President Brigitte Kubota said, “The Arlington PTA was very grateful to be able to have some amazing volunteer readers from Torrance Refining Company for our Reading Incentive Week! A special thank you to Gesuina, Alexis, Michael, Valerie, Heather, Gertrina and Julie for sharing your virtual stories with our students. They were so excited to listen in and take a moment to enjoy a book. Thank you all for your time to make this week a little more special for our kids.”

To learn more about National Read Across America and ways to celebrate, please visit: https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america