This Week at READ USA

Multicultural Literacy

Thank You for a Remarkable Year

  • Read USA Inc.
  • December 27 2023

Dear Friends of READ USA,

As we reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2024, we extend our deepest gratitude to our donors, volunteers, board members, and staff. Your unwavering commitment and generous contributions of time, talent, and treasure have been the cornerstone of our success in combating illiteracy and ensuring every child can read on grade level. To put it simply, you have helped make 2023 a truly remarkable year for so many students in our community.

Thanks to your support, READ USA has made extraordinary strides in addressing the literacy crisis. We’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of high-quality teaching and high-interest books. Our Literacy Tutoring program has flourished, serving over 3,500 children across more than 60 schools through the daily work and dedication of 1,300 teen tutors and 250 teachers. These efforts not only enhance the literacy skills of our youth, but also empower the next generation of teachers and workforce leaders.

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Your support has also been vital to our Book Choice and Ownership initiative, where we’ve distributed over 800,000 books to 275,000+ students this year alone, fostering a love for reading and enabling students to build their own at-home libraries of books that interest them. And, most importantly, we’ve seen the joy and confidence that come from students choosing and owning books.

Your contributions have also been pivotal in empowering educators through our Literacy Professional Development initiative. By building teacher knowledge and equipping them with evidence-based teaching skills, we’ve fostered a community of educators who are not just teachers, but champions of literacy in the classroom and beyond.

READ USA continued to embrace diversity and inclusion through our Multicultural Literacy program, ensuring that every child is able to see themselves in the stories they read. This approach further cultivates a love for reading and strengthens our community’s social fabric.

However, our journey doesn’t stop here. As we look to 2024, we are filled with hope and determination. Our vision to eradicate illiteracy is bold and unyielding. We seek to expand our reach, touch more lives, and empower even more children to read on grade level. The impact of your support extends beyond the numbers – it’s seen in every child who discovers the joy of reading, in every teen tutor who finds their calling, and in every educator who rekindles their passion for teaching.

As we look forward to the new year, we are excited about the potential to expand our impact and help even more children achieve literacy success. However, the only barrier to reaching this goal is funding. Your continued support is more critical than ever as we strive to provide high-interest books and high-quality teaching to every child in need.

Together, we can overcome the challenges of illiteracy and create a brighter future for all children. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being a part of our journey, for believing in our mission, and for your generous support.

Here’s to an even more transformational 2024!

With gratitude and hope,

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Dr. Robert Kelly


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“Book Choice is the glue that holds it all together…”

Your support of READ USA gives the power of choice to students across Duval County.

Through the ability to choose what they want to read, READ USA empowers students to explore, learn, and grow on their own terms and in ways that are personal and motivating to them. When combined with robust literacy instruction, the result is a powerful elixir that forever impacts lives.

Most importantly, our teen tutors and dedicated supporters have witnessed this tangible impact themselves:

Your support of READ USA makes empowerment through book choice possible for Duval County’s students. Donate to READ USA today to help multiply this impact.

Donate Today

Here We Come, 2024!

Have you made any new year’s resolutions for the coming year?Squirrel_large

While some folks love the feeling of starting fresh with new goals for the new year, not everyone partakes in the tradition. And, well, no one knows that feeling more than Squirrel…

In Squirrel's New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller, Squirrel goes on a fun journey with her friends to learn what it means to set resolutions for the new year. But in the end, will she herself make a resolution, too?

As we all look ahead to a bright and prosperous 2024, enjoy this story with your young loved ones which is available as a read-aloud here.

Whether you are making resolutions or not this year, the team at READ USA wishes you a safe, warm, and happy new year’s celebration and a wonderful kickoff to 2024!

Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Goggins  

READ USA is immensely grateful for every one of our volunteers who give their time to our mission, and today we are shining a spotlight on one our most dedicated: Ashley Goggins!

Ashley Goggins, Rob and Barbara USE THIS ONE_lgFor Ashley, reading was a big part of her childhood – yet it was a passion that subsided a bit during the rigor of law school. However, her passion was rekindled once she settled into her career.

“I felt like I lost my love for reading during law school,” said Ashley. “But when I became a public defender, our offices were right next to the Jacksonville Public Library’s main branch, and my colleague and I would venture over during lunch. I exclusively loved nonfiction in the past, yet my colleague introduced me to fiction to try something new. Needless to say, I came to love reading again!”

After starting her own law firm, Ashley was seeking ways to get more involved in the community. “I strongly believe in giving your time, talent, and treasure, and I wanted to find something that aligns with who I am, something I’m passionate about – and then I was introduced to READ USA.”

In 2022, READ USA Board Member Monè Holder, who attended FAMU with Ashley, invited her to Peace in the Pages to learn about the organization and mission. “I was so moved by the work that READ USA is doing. I thought, what an amazing program with what they’re doing in schools and with books, I knew I wanted to get involved and support.”

Since that time, Ashley has given mountains of time and talent. Last year, she volunteered at nearly 10 book fair sites, and has since participated in professional development opportunities for teen tutors, helped with numerous book sorting and organization needs, and volunteered at five schools during READ USA’s recent Jeremy’s Winter Festivals at schools.

“I’ve tried to do as many projects as possible in the past year since learning about READ USA,” added Ashley. “I just love the mission: Reading can take you anywhere – it broadens your imagination and introduces you to environments you’ve never know about without having to physically go there.”

We couldn’t agree more, Ashley! Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit and your commitment to the students of Duval County!

Speaking of the Power of Choice…

YOU still have time to make YOUR choice!

In just a few months, READ USA will host our free Book Fairs at all DCPS elementary schools, providing every student – even if they are absent that day! – with the opportunity to choose free books to keep.

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Our sponsors provide essential funding support for all of READ USA’s programming. While all sponsors receive benefits from their support, our READ USA Literacy Partners and above get something extra special: exclusive opportunities to enhance your visibility by being a “READ USA Book Fair Sponsor for [School Name].” At that same school, Literacy Partners can opt to provide further support through read-alouds, volunteer opportunities for family or team members, and more.

NOW is the time to sponsor and select the elementary school of your choice before the end of the year!

Become a Sponsor!

To discuss your sponsorship with READ USA, please contact CEO Dr. Rob Kelly at 

Children’s Book: Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas, by Kimberly and James Dean

Written and illustrated by Kimberly and James Dean

Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas is a unique version of the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days12daysofChristmas_large of Christmas.” In this colorful and energetic picture book, Pete and his friends are determined to help Santa deliver Christmas gifts in their creative way. Sing along with Pete as he delivers gifts in his yellow minibus that range from a trip to the sea, bouncing balls, skateboards, concert tickets, guitars, and rocking friends.

Pete is rocking and grooving to his new tune and pulls the reader in with his fifth day of Christmas gift (5 onion rings). If you love the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you will fall in love with Pete the Cat’s version of his groovy twelve days of Christmas. This is a great rhythmic book for all ages filled with holiday cheer.

This wonderful storybook is on the New York Times bestselling list and is lauded to be the perfect Christmas gift. So, enjoy grooving and singing with Pete and his friends to his new version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Submitted by Dr. Barbara Lacey-Allen, Books Programs and Family Engagement Director

Parent Education Corner: Winter Break Reading Bingo

Enjoy some family fun with Reading Bingo during the winter break!

Color in each square as you complete an activity and try to get BINGO – and have fun with some cool book-inspired prizes when your kids WIN!


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!