This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

Choice + Choice = WIN for Elementary Students!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • October 25 2023


Students get to choose…

Sponsors get to choose…

Everyone gets to WIN!

As a READ USA Literacy Partner, your sponsorship supports READ USA’s programming that delivers high-interest books and high-quality teaching to elementary students across Duval County. As a sponsorship benefit, every Literacy Partner and above is recognized as a READ USA Book Fair sponsor at an elementary school of your choosing and is entitled to exclusive opportunities to enhance your visibility and support at that school through read-alouds, volunteer opportunities for family or team members, and more.

As a Literacy Partner, YOU have the opportunity to choose a school and put your name on it!

Every spring, READ USA hosts 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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With 61% of low-income homes having ZERO books in them, READ USA Book Fairs are vital to closing the literacy gap in our community. Our free Book Fairs level the playing field for all elementary school children and empower them to choose books that interest them most, further fueling their interest in reading and improving their reading skills.

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

Become a Sponsor!

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


Mid-Semester Educator Professional Development

On Monday, the READ USA team hosted a mid-semester educator professional development session to ensure best practices and uniformity are being leveraged to their fullest extent at all DCPS elementary schools receiving READ USA Literacy Tutoring.

We were thrilled to host the enthusiastic teachers, specialists, and coaches – who are the backbone of our Literacy Tutoring program – as they worked collaboratively to reflect, discuss, and plan next steps to build further momentum in closing the literacy gap in Duval County!

We greatly appreciate the free space provided by the Jacksonville Public Library’s Willow Branch location, and many thanks to our READ USA staff members – Tabetha Cox, Kathi Hart, Ashlea Jones, Kathleen McArthur, and Holden Scyster – for supporting our educator professional development needs!

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Literacy Locker Room at John E. Ford Pre K-8 School

Yesterday, READ USA hosted a Literacy Locker Room event at John E. Ford Pre K-8 School alongside our partner, the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, and our sponsor, Florida Blue!

At Literacy Locker Room events, students choose a free book from READ USA and the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation to take home and keep. Plus, Jacksonville Jaguars players read aloud to the students, giving everyone a memorable experience featuring our favorite things: books, reading, and most importantly, students!

We are so grateful that Darnell Smith, Market President for Florida Blue’s North Florida region, Andrea Williams, and other members of his team could join us. Many thanks also to our special guests, Jacksonville Jaguars players #26 Antonio Johnson and #91 Dawuane Smoot; members of the Jacksonville Roar; Adriel Rocha, Vice President of Community Impact and Football Development, and Michael Carnahan, Jaguars Foundation Community Impact and Programs Manager, for joining us as well. And finally, we are thankful to John E. Ford Principal Mrs. Tina Bennett for hosting and participating in the event with all of us! Everyone’s presence gave the students such a special treat yesterday, and we are so thankful! 

Check out some of the photos from yesterday’s event sponsored by Florida Blue.  

Thank you to the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and Florida Blue for your ongoing support of READ USA and your commitment to closing the literacy gap in Duval County!

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Tomorrow: Read for the Record

READ USA is joining READ JAX tomorrow, October 26th, for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, the world’s largest shared reading experience that celebrates and supports children’s early language and social-emotional development. Individuals and organizations across Duval County will be participating in Read for the Record and we invite you to participate as well!

A day of celebration and fun, Read for the Record builds an intergenerational community through reading and raises awareness around the critical importance of early literacy. It also promotes access to inclusive literature that fosters belonging and connection by reflecting children’s own experiences as well as showing the experiences of others – just like READ USA’s Multicultural Literacy programming!

This year’s book is With Lots of Love, authored by Jenny Torres Sanchez and illustrated by Andre Ceolin:


You can also watch the read-aloud of this book here:


Children's Book: Sarah’s Sick Day, by Erainna Winnett

Illustrated by Abira Das

Sarah’s Sick Day is the ideal way to introduce Red Ribbon Week. This beautifully illustrated picture bookSarahsSickDay_large shares Sarah’s story with students to help them understand the dangers of taking medicine without a parent’s guidance. In the story, Sarah woke up with a fever and was frantic because she does not like to miss school. She loves sharing time, snack time, and just spending time with her friends. When she discovers she has a fever and her mother is going to call the doctor, she attempts to circumvent the doctor’s visit by taking her own preventive measures.

As the events in the story unfold, Sarah learns that she cannot take medicine without her mother’s permission. Sarah is very apologetic for thinking she could and attempting to do so. This story sheds light on how some children respond to being sick and do not want to miss school. It also shares the importance of children knowing boundaries when it comes to medicine.

The main ideas of this story are awareness and health safety. Sarah learned two valuable lessons on her sick day: (1) Always ask permission before taking medicine and (2) Taking medicine that is not yours can be very harmful. This picture book is very succinct and delivers a very impactful message. It is an awesome resource for teaching medication safety.

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


Parent Education Corner: Developing Writing at Home

Writing is an excellent way for children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is also a fundamental way for children to learn to organize ideas. Teaching children at a young age to write improves their reading skills by helping them recognize the connection between the letters they see and the sounds the letter makes.

Young children often mirror what they see around them – adults and older children writing lists, notes, text messaging, etc. They are observing the way writing is used in our everyday lives.

Writing at Home

Here are some suggestions that engage your child in the writing process:

  • Provide plenty of materials: paper (lined and unlined), notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, and crayons.
  • Brainstorm with your child as much as possible about their ideas for writing.
  • Encourage your child to label and/or write about their drawings.
  • Encourage your child to write, even if he/she is scribbling.
  • Give your child opportunities to practice writing by helping him/her sign birthday cards, write stories, and make lists.
  • Have your child write instructions for taking care of the family pet.
  • Write a letter or thank-you note to a relative. Talk through what your child wants to say before writing begins.
  • Make a shopping list before going to the grocery store.
  • Write an online review of a book or an item you recently purchased or a recipe you tried.

Encouraging your child to develop strong writing skills at a young age, and to become a better writer as they get older, can have a lifelong positive impact on their writing, and may make writing an easier and more enjoyable process for them.

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!