This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders Participate in MLK Week of Service

  • Read USA Inc.
  • January 16 2024

On Monday, January 15, the nation will come together to celebrate and uplift the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Locally, READ USA and our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders will join the United Way of Northeast Florida, the City of Jacksonville (COJ), AmeriCorps, and other community organizations for the MLK Week of Service!

The Week of Service kicks off this Friday, January 12 with the 37th Annual MLK Breakfast presented by Florida Blue and hosted by COJ, NAACP, and the Jacksonville Urban League. If you’re attending, keep an eye out for our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders, who will be volunteering at the event! Our READ USA team will also have a table at the breakfast.

ArlingtonJWJ1_largePictured above is our team attending last year’s MLK breakfast.

Our team is excited for all of the meaningful and fun activities planned for the MLK Week of Service! Our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders will volunteer at select events, so if you see them, give them a high five! In recognition for their volunteer service, they will receive AmeriCorps service hours, which are required during their one-year AmeriCorps commitment.

We look forward to sharing all that our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders do next week!

Visit United Way of Northeast Florida’s website for more details about the Week of Service events – which include the MLK Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 15, community dialogue events, and the first annual JAX Urban Book Fest at James Weldon Johnson Park on Saturday, Jan. 20. We sure do love a book fest!


Celebrate Literacy Week…at Home!

Following the MLK Week of Service, the state of Florida will host Celebrate Literacy Week from January 22-26. We absolutely love this year’s theme – Believe in Your “Shelf” – because it reflects exactly what READ USA is working to accomplish through our programming: putting books in every child’s hands and home, and building confidence through literacy!

For those who want to Celebrate Literacy at home, we’ve compiled some easy and fun daily activities that parents, caregivers, or even siblings can do at home with their budding young readers:

Monday, January 22

  • Hold a Literacy Fair: Create posters, bookmarks, or other visuals to portray favorite books. Write poems or skits inspired by their reading.
  • Read-a-Thon: Children can ask family members to sponsor them for every hour they read during the school week to raise money for their school or favorite nonprofit organization.

Tuesday, January 23

  • Read with a Buddy Day: Have a special reading time with their favorite stuffed animal.
  • Talk-a-Thon: Compare a book to its movie version and discuss!

Wednesday, January 24

  • Wacky Wednesday: Swap a book with a friend and enjoy reading about something new!
  • Visit the Library: Take your child or sibling to visit your local library – and even better if they dress up as their favorite book character!

Thursday, January 25

  • Thankful Thursday: Encourage your child to write a note to a teacher or school team member who has helped them become a better reader.
  • Reading Buddies: Encourage older children – either siblings or neighbors – to read to your younger children.

Friday, January 26

  • Spirit Day & Book Parade: Have your child dress up as your favorite character and do a parade around the house, the yard, or neighborhood!
  • “Sock it to me” with a Good Book: Wear crazy socks together with your child and read a book together.
  • New Perspective: Have your child draw a new cover design or interior illustration from their favorite book or story.

What other ways will you be celebrating? Let us know on social media! And most importantly, have FUN!

Spring Tutoring Kicks Off Today

Today officially kicked off the start of the Spring 2024 semester of READ USA Literacy Tutoring!

We are thrilled that we are continuing Literacy Tutoring in seven Duval County Public Elementary Schools this semester – but even more excited to kick off tutoring at eight additional elementary schools!

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More than 650 elementary students across 15 DCPS elementary schools will receive daily, intensive literacy tutoring instruction from 200+ teen tutors who are trained and paid a $15/hour wage. Fifty teachers will also provide support, guidance, and in-the-moment coaching for our teen tutors as they implement their lessons.

We cannot wait to see the reading progress to be made this Spring!

Plus, last week, we hosted 50 new and returning teen tutors and teachers for their two-day Literacy Tutoring training session. During training, teen tutors learn (or brush up on) everything from reading and phonics lesson structure and implementation, to best instructional practices, to how to sustain student focus and engagement. Additionally, our peer-to-peer tutoring model cultivates social-emotional skills in elementary students and teen tutors, promoting mental and emotional wellness, safety, and inclusion.

Overall, it was a fun – and intensive! – two days with our tutors and teachers, and we are so grateful for their continued commitment to uplifting lives through literacy in our community. Thank you to everyone who joined us and we cannot wait to see you in action!


Children’s Book: When Martin Luther King Jr. Wore Roller Skates, by Mark Weakland

Illustrated by Patrick BallesteroswhenMLK_large

Martin Luther King, Jr. led the American Civil Rights Movement. But do you know what he was like as a child? From roller skating to playing football and basketball, Martin was a fun-loving child. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

Martin learned to overcome challenges at an early age without violence. He was gentle and caring like his mother and determined and fearless like his father. Martin drew on these traits as he grew to become a leader and was admired by millions of people around the world.

Martin grew up playing basketball in his neighborhood and roller skating with his friends. He graduated from high school at age fifteen. He went to college where he learned more about civil rights and the importance of peace. When Martin Luther King Jr. Wore Roller Skates is an excellent approach to sharing the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how his journey in becoming a great American Leader transformed the lives of people.

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

Parent Education Corner: Helping Young Children Learn with Multisensory Activities

“Multisensory” is a big word that means “many senses.” Multisensory learning involves two or more senses within the same activity. It taps into a child’s natural learning style, helps him/her focus better, and remember what he/she has learned. Research has shown the power and fun of multisensory activities to help all children build reading readiness skills. Use the tips below to help your child have fun while learning important skills.

Multisensory activities fit right in with the way children learn. Think about young children naturally learning about their world by observing, listening, and exploring with their mouths, hands, and movement.

How to Make Letter Learning Multi-Sensory:

Learning the letters of the alphabet can be hard for some children. Not only do children need to learn the names of each letter, but they need to learn their sounds. Children who struggle to learn letters can benefit when we support their learning with multisensory activities. Here’s how:

See it! Hear it! Do it! Touch it!

  • Show the letter (See it!)
  • Say its name and sound (Hear it!)
  • Ask your child to say its name and sound (Hear it!)
  • Show a picture that starts with the letter you are focusing on (apple for A) (See it!)
  • Make the letter from materials with a texture, such as yarn or clay (Touch it!)
  • Draw the letter in the air (Do It!)
  • Trace it in a small sand box (Touch it!)

This may sound like a lot to do, but you can start with one or two things at a time and add others as you get used to it. Use your creativity to think of ways to make it fun for you and your child!

From Nemours Children’s Reading BrightStart.

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!

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