This Week at READ USA

Peace In The Pages

Peace in the Pages is TOMORROW!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • September 27 2023

Our fifth annual event celebrating the link between literacy, peace, and freedom is tomorrow!

At the 2023 Peace in the Pages event presented by David & Monique Miller, the READ USA team is thrilled to celebrate our award honorees who have been champions of literacy throughout their lives and careers. We hope you will join us in applauding these exceptional individuals and their immeasurable contributions to Jacksonville – either in-person, on social media, or anywhere!

  • READ to Lead Award: Betty Seabrook Burney, Founder and Board Chair of I’m a Star Foundation
  • READ to Succeed Award: Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University
  • READ to be Free Award: Kevin Gay, Founder of Operation New Hope
  • READ to Heal Award: Nicole B. Thomas, Hospital President of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville
  • READ to Remember Award: Dr. Floyd Willis, Physician at Mayo Clinic
  • Marjorie Broward Memorial Award: Paula Findlay, Principal of Arlington Elementary School
  • Mark Landen Memorial Award for Democracy through Journalism: Mark Woods, Columnist for the Florida Times-Union

For everyone joining us tomorrow, we have incredible inspiration to share with you! Our keynote speaker, international bestselling author and 30-year educator Shelley Read, will discuss the importance of believing in ALL students and their potential, personal resilience and strength, and how all of us are stronger than we believe. All of these themes tie perfectly to READ USA’s mission and work, and to her novel, Go as a River, copies of which she will sign for attendees after the program.

Plus, guests will hear from several of our Literacy Tutoring teen tutors, a teacher, and a volunteer about how READ USA’s programming is impacting the lives of students across Duval County.

We look forward to seeing our Peace in the Pages guests tomorrow at 11 a.m.!

Listen to Dr. Rob Kelly and Shelley Read on First Coast Connect

We are so grateful to WJCT’s First Coast Connect team and especially host Al Letson, a friend of READ USA, for inviting our CEO Dr. Rob Kelly and Shelley Read to join him on First Coast Connect yesterday!

Shelley Read is our 2023 Peace in the Pages presented by David & Monique Miller event keynote speaker, but more importantly she is an inspirational educator and leader who has impacted the lives of thousands of at-risk college students throughout her career. She called into the segment from Colorado before she boarded her flight today to join us at Peace in the Pages tomorrow! 

Listen to their insightful discussion HERE at the 35-minute mark. 

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Dr. Floyd Willis: “The wisest investment we can make”

Dr. Floyd Willis, a physician at Mayo Clinic and our 2023 Peace in the Pages Read to Remember Award honoree, shared his thoughts with READ USA about how “…we absolutely must invest in our children’s academic, emotional, and social growth…”

Watch Dr. Willis’s remarks about how we as a society are preparing the “future leaders” of America here:


Nicole Thomas: “Literacy impacts every aspect of society.”

Our 2023 Peace in the Pages Read to Heal Award honoree Nicole B. Thomas, hospital president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, sat down with READ USA to discuss how, “Literacy is the fuel for all things that make a great community.”

Watch Ms. Thomas’s insightful perspectives about expanding boundaries, adapting to change, and learning new things here:


Mark Woods: “I hope people find joy in reading.”

Most Jaxsons know Columnist Mark Woods for the unique perspectives he shares every week in the Florida Times-Union, but he is also READ USA’s 2023 Peace in the Pages Mark Landen Memorial Award for Democracy through Journalism honoree!

Mr. Woods shared with READ USA how, “You may not want to be a writer, but you will use writing and reading…” and how ultimately, he hopes that people find JOY in reading!

Watch as Mr. Woods discusses this and more here:


Positions Available at READ USA

READ USA has opportunities for engaged, committed community members to join the READ USA team through several VISTA service positions!

Through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, members receive a living allowance, an education award, professional development training and support, and healthcare benefits by serving in a one-year support role.

READ USA has several opportunities help us grow and improve the lives of even more children and teens in our community:

  • Development Associate will support the sustainability of READ USA through partnership building with private funders and other development activities.
  • Logistics and Scaling Associate will provide logistical support to the READ USA Literacy Tutoring program and support expansion.
  • Grant and Proposal Writing Associate will seek out and apply for grant opportunities while helping maintain positive relationships with funders and stakeholders.
  • External Communications Associate will help enhance external communications by collaborating with the communications team to identify and pursue opportunities to creatively develop digital and printed content.
  • Volunteer Recruitment Associate will help develop and implement a comprehensive volunteer recruitment and management process.
  • Tutor Recruitment Associate will help develop and implement a comprehensive teen tutor recruitment and management process.

Interested to learn more? Visit the Apply section of our website:


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Children’s Book: We are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom

Illustrated by Michaela GoadeWearewaterprotectors_large

This non-fiction story was born out of the writer’s conviction to use her voice to help in the outcry against large oil companies affecting the water and land in North Dakota. In the story, the writer employs the persona of a young girl who is taught by her grandmother to protect the water because it is a fundamental resource for the land. The young girl remembers an old Anishinaabe prophecy which predicted that one day the black snake will destroy the water, animals, and the land. The ancestors spoke of the prophecy many years ago and now it is here. In the Ojibwe culture, women are protectors of the water and stewards of the earth.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe organized a peaceful sit-in camp to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) which was destroying their land and sacred burial grounds. The DAPL assured the people in North Dakota that the pipeline would be safe, but before the installation was complete, the pipeline was leaking oil into the ground and water. The story is beautifully illustrated using watercolors which depict the true belief and struggle of the indigenous people.

We Are Water Protectors courageously advocates for indigenous rights and environmental protection. This movement has united indigenous people and supporters globally. It is certainly this kind of story that challenges us to take courage and to fight for what we believe in.

Submitted by Dr. Barbara Lacey-Allen, Book Programs & Family Engagement Director

Parent Education Corner: Parent Education Corner: How to Grow a Reader – Emerging Readers

There is a magical moment when your child starts to show an interest in letters and begins to make out words on a page or in the world itself. This magical moment happens at different ages for different children, even within the same family.

An emergent reader is one who is interested in books but can’t yet read them independently or may be able to read some words but requires continued support to make meaning from print. As a child begins to “emerge” as a reader it really can seem like magic – so enjoy this time with your child!

Here are some strategies for supporting your emergent reader:

  1. Mix it up. When your child starts to pick out words, allow them to read to you some of the time, but reading time should not be strained, exhausting, or feel like a test. At first, try pointing to words you know your child will recognize and have him or her read them. When your child knows more words, try reading alternating pages.
  2. Don’t abruptly withdraw your reading services. Being read to is an enormous comfort and an important part of bonding with your child. Continue reading picture book favorites – and some more sophisticated books they can’t read on their own yet like E.B White’s Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little.
  3. Make reading at home beautiful, fun, and inspiring. It’s great if you can help support your child while they are learning to read, but your most important job as a parent is to foster a love of reading.
  4. Stay focused on “raising a reader.” There is no correct age for independent reading. If you have focused on raising a reader all along, you can feel confident that your child is taking the steps toward becoming an independent reader, with a love of reading.

From: How to Raise a Reader “”

By Pamela Paul and Maria Russo

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Content Specialist

Do you have any questions or ideas for the Parent Education Corner? Anything you’d like to learn? Let us know here!