Above, Pablo Flores shares a book – and a special moment – with his children, Paul and Eden, during Hooper Elementary School’s ‘Donuts with Dad.’ 

Clockwise, from top left, second-grader Angel Cortez and his father, Flavio; proud Hooper Elementary student DannyRay De Souza and his step-dad, Jose Jerez; Liseth Barbosa reads to a Los Angeles firefighter.

While most people celebrate Father’s Day in June, the Hooper Avenue Elementary School family holds a dad-focus event in January that promotes literacy and paternal bonding.

Tall and short, young and old, lean and heavy-set, nearly 300 dads, step-dads and father figures participated in last week’s second annual, “Donuts with Dad” at the South L.A. campus.

“Not only does this reading time promote literacy and the importance of reading, it also creates a bonding opportunity between dads and children,” Principal Gustavo Ortiz, who participated in a similar father-son activity when he attended Murchison Elementary School in Boyle Heights as a boy.

After snacking on Krispy Kreme doughnuts, dads visited their sons and daughters in their classrooms, where they took turns reading to one another.

“I liked the welcoming manner that I was received at the school”, said Pablo Flores, whose two children – Paul and Eden – attend Hooper. “I feel very happy reading with my children in their classrooms.”

There were also drawings for Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels tickets and T-shirts, adding to the special atmosphere of the day.

Jose Jerez was delighted to win one of the prizes, but he was even more pleased with the reading skills demonstrated by his stepson, DannyRay De Souza.

“I feel real proud of Danny, who has progressed a lot,” Jerez said. “It felt great to enjoy this moment with him because I know he really wanted me to be here.”

The success of Donuts with Dad is part of the family-centered culture at Hooper, where Ortiz also hosts Muffins with Mom and Graham Crackers with Grandparents.

“I hope this experience will strengthen the pillars of what education should be in schools,” he said, “and, more importantly, that it continues at home.”