This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

Apply Today to be a VISTA Service Member!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • August 2 2023

READ USA has six, year-long VISTA service positions available, and the people in these positions will play an essential role in helping READ USA grow and expand our footprint to improve the lives of even more children and teens in our community and beyond.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in these positions, please forward this email!

Follow the links below to learn more about each full-time, in-office AmeriCorps position and apply:

  • Program Supervisor will work in close partnership with the Data and Research Director and CEO to ensure the success of the AmeriCorps VISTA Program at READ USA. This position will train, develop, and supervise AmeriCorps members and serve as a liaison between READ USA and AmeriCorps host sites and funders. Email Holden Scyster at for more information and to apply.
  • 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.

For questions about READ USA’s AmeriCorps VISTA positions, please contact Holden Scyster at

International Bestselling Author to Keynote Peace in the Pages

Our team is elated to announce that international bestselling author Shelley Read – who recently published her first, internationally acclaimed novel, Go as a River -  will be our keynote speaker at READ USA’s Peace in the Pages presented by David & Monique Miller on September 28!

Shelley Read_largeMs. Read – yes, her last name is READ! - has graciously committed to joining us at Peace in the Pages to share her inspirational journey as an educator, author, and adventurer.

By pure coincidence, the synchronicities between Ms. Read and READ USA are profound: She has been an award-winning lecturer and educator for three decades at Western Colorado University where she taught writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honors. She was a founder of the interdisciplinary Environment & Sustainability major and the Prague study abroad program, and she founded a support program for first-generation and at-risk college students to help them stay and succeed in a collegiate environment.

Ms. Read’s focus on youth, education, and sustainability makes her a perfect fit for our annual Peace in the Pages event where we celebrate local champions of literacy and promote the link between literacy and the values of empathy, peace, health, education, and freedom! We are overjoyed and honored for Ms. Read to join us!

Fun Fact: “Go as a river” is also a phrase rooted in Buddhist origins and refers to the ever-changing flow of life, which also speaks to the essence of Ms. Read’s novel. Mahatma Gandhi, our inspiration behind Peace in the Pages, was deeply influenced by Buddha’s teachings in his quest for peace and freedom. We love how these connections have come together!

Read more about our 2023 Peace in the Pages event, which will take place on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field, here.

Donors who support READ USA at $1,000 a year or more receive several benefits, including seats at Peace in the Pages. You can become a READ USA donor today by clicking here.

READ to Lead Award: Betty Burney, Founder of I’m a Star Foundation

During the coming weeks leading up to Peace in the Pages on September 28, READ USA will be featuringBurney our highly deserving award winners in our newsletter for you to read more about these individuals contributions to literacy, education, and youth in our community.

Today we are honored to feature our READ to Lead Award Honoree, Ms. Betty Burney, Founder and Executive Director of the I’m a Star Foundation!

The award-winning I’m a Star Foundation is committed to empowering and equipping youth to transform themselves into solution-oriented leaders in their schools and respective communities. Ms. Burney also served for multiple years on the Duval County School Board, serving twice as Board Chair and twice as Vice Chair.

“My life’s mission is to empower children,” Ms. Burney says. “Reading is education and education is knowledge and knowledge is power… and I love READ USA. Especially the teen tutoring reading program that helps both the tutors and the students they are tutoring.”

READ USA is honored to have Ms. Burney’s support over the years and we are proud to recognize her contributions to our community with the READ to Lead Award!

Read more about Ms. Burney here.

Tutors Needed for 2 p.m.

Do you know of a teen or college student who:

  • Wants to make an impact on their community?
  • Wants to earn $15/hour?
  • Is available starting at 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays?

We want to hear from you! READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program begins again this fall at Duval County Public Elementary Schools, and we are in need of tutors who can start working at 2 p.m. (shifts end at 6 p.m.) in the general areas of Arlington, Springfield, and Northwest Jacksonville. 

High-school students with flexible hours or dual enrollment, or college students from Edward Waters, Jacksonville University, or FSCJ Downtown are ideal for this opportunity!

hs_2_large  HS_1_large

How Literacy Tutoring Works:

Teen tutors use pre-written lesson plans to deliver high-quality reading lessons to help elementary students improve their literacy skills. READ USA provides extensive training, onboarding, on-site support, and resources to teen tutors. Tutors have one-on-one access to supervising teachers during all tutoring sessions, who oversee, coach, and guide tutors in lesson delivery.

Teen Tutors Can Expect:

  • $15/hour for 9-12 hours of work per week.
  • Transportation (if needed) to and from the selected elementary school.
  • To participate in a mandatory two-day onboarding and training session – dates TBA (tutors are paid for the training session).
  • To pass a national Level II background check, reading screener, and drug screen.
    Apply Today


Back-to-School is in Full Swing!

Many thanks to Inspire to Rise, Inc. and the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) for hosting their recent back-to-school events this past Saturday!

These events and others in our community are essential to helping our underserved neighbors prepare for the forthcoming school year –

We also have three more back-to-school events coming up this Saturday, August 5 – click here for more and to sign up to volunteer!

Inspire to Rise 5

READ USA gave more than 200 free books and Student Activity Booklets to the more than 400 families who attended this event in Jacksonville’s westside. Staff, volunteers, and partners came together to hand out 220+ backpacks filled with school supplies, books, and other goodies, helping set these students up for yearlong success! Thank you to Inspire to Rise for inviting READ USA to join you!

 Inspire to Rise Group Photo_From Rise FB Page_L

BEAM Back-to-School Event

BEAM hosted its annual Back-to-School event in Jax Beach and provided clothing, new backpacks, school supplies, and shoes to more than 300 families who attended! READ USA was proud to provide our free Book Fair during the event, giving out 900+ free books to eager-to-read children (three for each child!). Thank you to BEAM and Scholastic for your partnership in making this event possible for the children and families of Jacksonville’s beaches.


 Beam3_large   BEAM1_large

Children’s Book: The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by Rafael Lopez The Day You Begin_large

The Day You Begin, is a touching back-to-school story that packs a powerful message. It is about finding courage to connect with others, even when you feel scared and alone.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s stunning art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes – and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway. Woodson explains that the day you truly begin living is the day that you realize that even though you may be different from everyone else, once you find the courage to share your story, the world will create the space for you that you deserve.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Program Content Specialist


Parent Education Corner: Back-to-School Tips

As summer vacation comes to an end and back-to-school season begins, it can be difficult to get back into a regular schedule – for both children and adults. The trick, of course, is to start planning now. To help you with the transition, here are some back-to-school tips. Read through the list and identify the strategies you think will help your family stay organized and prepared for the start of a new school year.

Mentally prepare for school

  1. Set your child’s sleep schedules back to “school time” two weeks before the first day of school.
  2. Discuss what your child can expect on the first day of school, so they feel more prepared.
  3. Talk openly with your child about their feelings about beginning/returning to school and be ready to answer any questions.

Prepare for after-school routines

  1. Refresh your rules about screen time for the school year. What’s allowed and when?
  2. Work out an after-school schedule that allows time for snacks, relaxation, play, and study.
  3. Create an “inbox” for your child to leave things that need your attention, like permission slips.

Devise a plan for homework

  1. Establish a specific place as an official “homework station.”
  2. Remove distractions like TV’s and video game consoles from homework areas.
  3. Set a regular alarm each day to signal the start of homework time.
  4. Give your child a short break, such as a short walk, after each assignment they complete.

Set goals for the school year

  1. Have your child set realistic goals for the new school year, such as reading 30 books, filling a journal, or learning multiplication facts.
  2. Help your child prioritize their activities by tying them to their year’s goals.
  3. Create a rewards system for when your child meets their goals or does extra things to help around the house.

With these back-to-school tips – and with you as their calm and collected guide – your child will be better able to begin the school year feeling prepared, excited and ready to get to work!

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Program 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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