This Week at READ USA

Professional Development

Congratulations to Duval County Public Schools!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • October 19 2022

Governor Ron DeSantis announced earlier this week the awarding of $200 million through the state’s School Recognition Program to 1,400 schools across the state that demonstrated student growth and teaching excellence in the 2021-22 school year. Eligible schools must receive a grade of “A” or improve at least one letter grade from the prior year – and 70 Duval County Public Schools who met these criteria will receive more than $9 million in funding! You can review the full list of schools here and read more about the School Recognition Program here.

Congratulations to DCPS and the incredible educators who give their all, every day, to help the children of Duval County learn and grow! Thank you to Governor DeSantis, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., and all state education officials for making these funds possible!

Florida Dept of Education

Meet Virginia, READ USA’s new Chief Development Officer


Virginia Berg has joined the READ USA team as our new Chief Development Officer, overseeing donor relations and all our fundraising and development initiatives as well as governmental affairs. Virginia has a strong passion for literacy and education, and currently serves as the Chair of the Jacksonville Public Library Board of Trustees. She has served on the board since 2019.

“It has been a personal mission of mine to improve education and specifically literacy in Duval County and across the state throughout my career,” said Virginia, who is also involved with the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation and ImpactJAX. “READ USA is poised for exceptional growth and elevated impact in our community, and it is an honor to be a part of this team and do my part to help close the literacy gap. I am looking forward to meeting all our generous donors and supporters and showing them the lifelong impact they are having on our local children.”

Virginia joins READ USA after four years as the director of government relations and community engagement at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). Her experience and focus on relationship building and fund development positions her well for her new role at READ USA, having developed and executed FSCJ’s strategy for legislative and government relations, including securing $80 million in state funding. She also successfully advocated for $7 million in local and state grants to support several new educational initiatives. Virginia was also responsible for managing the college’s relationships with local nonprofit organizations and community agencies.

Prior to FSCJ, Virginia held several governmental affairs and consulting roles, including running her own fundraising consulting firm in Tallahassee. She also previously served as the appointments director for the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida, where she led a team that was responsible for 2,000+ appointment recommendations for leadership roles throughout Florida, including the State Board of Education, numerous college and university boards, early learning coalitions, and other appointments.

Virginia and her husband, Charlie, are raising their young son Harrison to be an avid reader. Their household favorite is the Little Blue Truck series. Virginia most recently finished The Good Boss by Kate Eberly Walker, and frequently reads about a variety of professional development and leadership topics. She earned her bachelor’s from Auburn University and her MBA from the University of West Florida.

Welcome to the READ USA team, Virginia!

Virginia Berg Headshot


Children’s Book: The Path by Bob Staake

The Path

In this story, the character travels along a path of discovery. Some scenes are peaceful, some are curious and still others are a bit spooky. Journey into a dark cool cave, and a meadow of flowers. Soon a message emerges: you must choose your own path. The reader must make a choice, this way or that, and follow their decision through the pages of art and breakthroughs. Reminiscent of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken and Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go, with new and intriguing landscapes full of splendor. Read again and again, each time discovering new excursions into the unknown.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Education Corner - Nonfiction Reading 

Reading nonfiction requires an effort not required in reading fiction. Reading expert, Kylene Beers, states that for students to make meaning of informational text they must not only learn to think critically but also need to talk to create meaning. Though this talk can be messy, noisy, and time-consuming, she argues that it is a necessary practice. Beers teaches focused behaviors while reading non-fiction that increase the efficiency and understanding while reading informational text. Questions to encourage comprehension include asking students to wonder the following:

  • What surprised me?
  • What did the author think I already knew?
  • What challenged, changed, or confirmed what I already knew?

Readers need to learn to question the text, question the author, question their own understanding of the topic, and accept the possibility that our views will change because of the reading they do. A great deal of this thinking occurs when students are engaged in conversation.

For more ideas on how to practice this critical reading skill, check out this resource for parents from Heggerdy, which also provides materials that are used by classroom teachers across the country.