This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

Announcing READ USA’s Summer Leadership Academy

  • Read USA Inc.
  • April 10 2024


We are proud to announce the launch of our first-ever Summer Leadership Academy at READ USA, powered by CareerSource Northeast Florida!

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The READ USA Summer Leadership Academy is all about equipping, enlightening, and engaging teens and young adults in how to make informed decisions about their future – all while earning a $15/hour paycheck! During a six-week summer course, our teen tutors will visit leaders at numerous, cross-sector organizations, businesses, and civic groups who will provide a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at how these organizations operate, the path(s) that led to their current roles, and how STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) comes to life in their organizations.

Ultimately, our teen tutors will have a unique opportunity to experience the world in a different way – helping bridge the gap between what they do know and what they don’t yet know – and learn how they can pursue educational and career opportunities that align with their passions, skills, and goals. Upon completion of the program, teen tutors will have a better understanding of how to explore, choose, and pursue their future.

We are thrilled to host our first Summer Leadership Academy cohort from June 3 – July 11!

To apply, teens and teen tutors should visit by the April 19 application deadline. READ USA is accepting applications from both current and future tutors with specific requirements, which are available here.

We are grateful for our many community partners who are making the Summer Leadership Academy possible, including:

  • Baptist Health
  • CareerSource Northeast Florida
  • City of Jacksonville
  • Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
  • Ritz Theatre & Museum
  • STEM2 Hub
  • University of North Florida

If you are interested in becoming a partner of the READ USA Summer Leadership Academy, please contact Director of Workforce Development Ashlea Jones at

Apply Today

22,000+ and Counting        

As of today, READ USA, in partnership with the Duval County School Board and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) administration, has officially distributed 22,000+ books to 11,345 blossoming young minds across 20 DCPS elementary schools! And we’re only in week two of READ USA Book Fair season!

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A couple weeks ago, READ USA was the grateful recipient of a generous donation from the Second Annual Vested Metals Charity Golf Tournament, hosted by the Vested Community Foundation in St. Augustine (you can read more about that here). As recognition for their investment in “The Next Generation,” which is why READ USA was selected as a beneficiary, we named Vested Metals and the Vested Community Foundation as the Love Grove Elementary School Book Fair Sponsor! Thank you to the Vested Metals team for your support of literacy, the Next Generation, and READ USA’s focus on Book Choice & Ownership!

It has been a fun couple of weeks – and we are only just getting started! Many thanks to the elementary school principals and assistant principals, media specialists, teachers, and support staff for welcoming us into their schools, and to our incredible volunteers who bring so much fun and hard work to the book fairs.

Our unwavering gratitude also goes to our generous sponsors for their embrace and financial support of READ USA Book Fairs, including the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund, Dr. Robert Kelly & Charlene Landen, DuBow Family Foundation, Ellen and James Wiss Family Fund, J.B. Coxwell Contracting, Inc., Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock Foundation, Roseann Duran Legacy Gift, The Cost Family Fund, The Good Peoples Foundation, Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville, and Vested Metals International, LLC, all of whom sponsored book fairs during the past two weeks.

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Want to volunteer at an upcoming Book Fair? Sign up below!

Volunteer at a Book Fair!

Meet Jeremy’s Newest Friend: Dr. Floyd Willis of Mayo Clinic

Our fictional storyteller and namesake of our Jeremy’s Journey book series met a new friend for 2024 and recently published his story. Dr. Floyd Willis, a world-renowned physician at Mayo Clinic in Florida, sat down with Jeremy to share his life’s story and work as a doctor and medical researcher.


A native of Forsyth, Georgia, Dr. Willis grew up as one of five children born to Elizabeth and George Willis. His parents were leading citizens in his small town, and even had a sample ballot machine in their home that was available to all when voting drives took place!

Dr. Willis’s educational journey was inspired by the poem, “Be the Best of Whatever You Are,” by Douglas Malloch – and he most certainly has! After graduating from Yale University and the Morehouse School of Medicine, he did his residency at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. After a short stint operating his own family medicine practice in Georgia, Mayo Clinic in Florida recruited him to start its first Dept. of Family Medicine – where he was the only African American doctor and only family physician at the time.

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Since that time, Dr. Willis has co-written 35 scientific publications, conducted extensive Alzheimer’s research, and investigated aging, neurological disorders, and stroke. He has presented in South Africa and across the world on these topics, and he is a go-to expert on African Americans and the US Healthcare system as well as indigent care.

“When my children were growing up, I stressed to them that the most important profession on earth is teaching,” Dr. Willis told Jeremy. “That is what READ USA is doing – and providing the free books and teaching students how to read and understand them. READ USA is extremely important because it gives you one of your most important assets – the ability to learn. Reading facilitates learning.”

It is for all of these accomplishments that last year READ USA honored Dr. Willis as the READ to Remember Award Honoree at the 2023 Peace in the Pages luncheon, a truly well-deserved honor and recognition!


Jeremy’s book about Dr. Willis is now available to order for $20 per copy! Click here to place your order and coordinate pickup with READ USA.

Thank you, Dr. Willis, for allowing Jeremy and READ USA to share your inspirational journey with Jacksonville!


$25/hour Opportunity: READ USA Tutor Assessors

READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program positively impacts thousands of lives in our community – from the students who receive tutoring to the teen tutors who learn workforce development skills, as well as the educators and READ USA staff who support the entire tutoring process.

And YOU can be a part of it!

READ USA is seeking Assessors for our Literacy Tutoring program. Assessors are responsible for administering assessments and reporting data for elementary students using standardized and evidence-based measures. In this role, Assessors:

  • Receive $25/hour.
  • Participate in mandatory, paid training with supporting materials at the Schultz Center (4019 Boulevard Center Drive). The two training date options are:
    • Monday, April 15, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, April 16, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Must complete and pass a background check and fingerprinting (a requirement for working in the schools).

Apply here today! Feel free to also forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Children’s Book: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! by Fiona Waters

Illustrated by Britta Teckentruptiger tiger_large

It’s National Poetry Month, and we are celebrating!

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 animal poems—one for every day of the year. Filled with favorites and new discoveries written by a wide variety of poets, including William Blake, Christina Rosetti, Carl Sandburg, Grace Nichols, Matsuo Basho, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, and many more. This is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or end of the day.

The cover sparks interest with its captivating tiger’s gaze. It does a wonderful job at setting the tone for the many poems to come and fits the type of illustrations found through this collection.

The book is broken up into twelve months. At the beginning of each month, there's a list of the poems and authors with the corresponding date. Each two-page spread holds one to four poems. Every poem highlights a different animal. They come from various authors, cover various types of poetry, and represent everything from modern poems to traditional rhymes. So, expect a bit of everything from every direction to make a diverse mix! Some of the poems are serious, others invoke thought, and many add a touch of humor. A few are longer, with several verses, while others are composed of only a few words. So, expect a bit of everything!

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year is a wonderful book to read as a family and to introduce children to the delightful world of poetry.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, READ USA Content Specialist

Parent Education Corner: Playing with Poetry

National Poetry Month in April is a special occasion to celebrate the importance of poets and poetry in our culture.

Here are some ways to explore the world of poetry together and to get your child’s creativity flowing:

  • Read it aloud. Many adults are intimidated by the conventions of poetic form, but poetry — especially children’s poetry — is full of wonder, energy, and a sense of humor. Read poetry by different poets to find those you like; a love of poetry is contagious, so be enthusiastic!

    When you share a poem, read it twice out loud. The first time, just read it. Be dramatic and rhythmic and try to emphasize word sounds at the beginning and end of lines. The second time, invite your child to notice what the poet has done. Ask, “What did you like about this poem? What did you notice? What sounds do you hear?” See if they can feel the rhythm a poet has used. Can they tap her foot to the beat or drum her fingers to it?

    Listening to a poem usually inspires a child to create their own. Free verse poems are especially good choices. While children love to listen to rhyming poems, they can be difficult to write. Often a child will get stuck trying to rhyme words.

  • Put poetry in print. Kids love to see their writing in print. Even if your child can’t yet write, they can dictate their poems to you. Typing up your child’s poetry preserves and honors their ideas and makes them available to others. Invite them to illustrate the poem they created.

  • Find a poem in your child’s name. This type of poetry, known as acrostic, encourages word associations and playful nonsense. Your child’s name becomes the “spine” word. Each letter of their name is a seed for a new word. Invite them to think of words that begin with each letter — the new words can relate to their name, things they love to do, or nothing at all.
    After school
    Makes me happy

  • Make a silly poem together. Read some poems with silly, made-up words, such as “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll or selections from Shel Silverstein’s book Runny Babbit. How do the poems make your child feel? Can they tell which words the poets made up? Why do they think the poets made up words instead of using real ones?

    Then invite your child to create a poem using real and pretend words. Start by making up the first line of a poem — be silly: “When the pig made a wig, he called it a pwig!” Invite your child to add the next line. Take turns adding lines to the poem, writing down each one. Read the poem aloud and invite your child to illustrate it.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, READ USA Content Specialist

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

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