This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

Did You Feel the Energy Yesterday?

  • Read USA Inc.
  • March 29 2023

READ USA’s First Book Fair of 2023!

The energy and excitement were so palpable at KIPP Bessie Coleman Academy yesterday, we’re sure everyone in Duval County heard these kids roar louder than the Jaguars!

Take a look! It’s about a book!

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Nearly 400 elementary students experienced the power of Book Choice & Ownership yesterday at READ USA’s first Book Fair of 2023 as our team distributed almost 800 books to every kindergarten through 5th grade student. And this is just the beginning of Book Fair season!

Starting April 10th, READ USA will host a Book Fair at every DCPS elementary school – and we’d love for you to be a part of them! We 100% believe you will receive just as much joy and fulfillment as you give with your time. Volunteers are vital to the Book Fairs’ success, and you can sign-up and choose your school(s) and shift here.

The thrill we receive from seeing these kids get so enthusiastic about books and reading lights the same fire in us as it did the day of our very first READ USA Book Fair at George Washington Carver Elementary in 2011. That fire is what drove us to give even more children the power of choice in what they read, greatly multiplying the possibility of them finding joy in reading and becoming lifelong readers and learners.

We are beyond grateful to our generous donors and supporters who continue to make this dream a reality for thousands of elementary students across Duval County for the past 12 years! We hope you will join us!

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READ USA Joins Dr. Diana Greene at Garden City Elementary for Celebrate Reading Week

This morning, READ USA CEO Dr. Rob Kelly joined DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene for a read aloud at Garden City Elementary as part of Celebrate Reading Week! It was a wonderful surprise visit for Mrs. Young-Small’s second-grade students who were treated to an emphatic reading of Dr. Greene’s very own Jeremy’s Journey book published by READ USA!

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Dr. Greene ended the reading with a sweet getting-to-know-you session with the students by asking them their name and what they like about Garden City Elementary. The students overwhelmingly reported that they love their teacher, their principal, and the cafeteria food! In closing, Dr. Greene presented the book to Mrs. Young-Small to keep in her classroom. READ USA thanks Principal Ashley Miro and Mrs. Kenya Young-Small for hosting Dr. Greene and Dr. Kelly at Garden City, where they are growing great readers and leaders!

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Our joy of reading and books continues to build this week as we look forward to Family Reading Day this weekend!

Join us this Saturday, April 1st from 11am-1pm at James Weldon Johnson Park in downtown for a day of family fun. READ USA will join multiple community partners at Family Reading Day and will give away FREE books for the first 300 children to visit our table and also host a bookmark making station for kids to create their own bookmarks. The event also features a children’s book character parade, face painters and balloon artists, and multiple special appearances from local and national celebrities.

Check out the flyer and QR code below for additional details. See you there!




READ USA Tutors Get a College Experience

Last weekend, the University of North Florida (UNF) graciously hosted 18 READ USA teen tutors from our Literacy Tutoring program to give them a taste of the college experience.

During Junior Preview Day, the UNF Ambassadors immersed our teen tutors in a day of learning and fun! Tons of resources were available about college programs, how to prepare college applications, financial aid, and other topics alongside one-on-one conversations, a lunch & learn about transitioning to college, plus campus tours and impromptu Q&A’s. Tutors also received a checklist of next steps for future enrollment, and if they choose to apply and complete these steps before July 15th, they can receive an enrollment decision for 2024 on-the-spot that day!

This special day contributed significantly to READ USA’s focus on workforce development and preparing teens for future learning and career opportunities through our Literacy Tutoring program. Our teen tutors are not only changing the lives of the elementary students they tutor, but they are improving their own by learning workforce skills that can apply to any career they choose in the future.

We cannot say THANK YOU enough to our partners at UNF and especially the UNF Ambassadors who took time during their Saturday to give our teen tutors a one-of-a-kind experience!

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Children’s Book: Facing Fear: An Immigration Story, by Karen Lynn Williams Facing Fear Image_large

Illustrated by Sara Palacios

This Sunday, April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day. “Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2 April, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books.” (, 2023)

A 2022-2023 Florida Children’s Book Award Finalist, Facing Fear by Karen Lynn Williams is a book that brings attention to children within and outside of the United States who witness part of their family living as immigrants. The main character, Enrique, understands what fear looks like. Although he is a U.S. citizen, the rest of his family is not. He sees fear as uncertainty, the impending chance for family separation, and the actions of people he loves and respects as they react to risk. He learns what courage looks like, and he learns to face opposition with confidence.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Parent Education Corner: The Foundation of Learning

Oral language plays an important role in your child’s learning as it represents their thinking. It is the foundation of literacy and academic success. Providing opportunities for your child to talk plays an important role in supporting language growth and development (Fountas and Pinnell, 2021).

Here’s how you can create a rich language environment in your home:

  1. Children learn what they hear: repeated exposure to words, books, and conversation allows a child to learn new words and develop strong oral language skills.
  2. Children learn words for things and events that interest them: rather than trying to divert a child’s attention, talk about what they are looking at and what they show an interest in.
  3. Children learn best in meaningful contexts: playing and engaging with your child creates many learning opportunities. For example, when playing with blocks you can model spatial language (“Put the yellow block behind the green block; under the red block; between the blue and orange block.”)
  4. Children learn best when they are engaged and interacting: talk with your child rather than at them, expand on what the child says, comment on what the child is interested in, and ask your child lots of questions.
  5. Children need to hear a wide range of examples of words and language structures: quality is important, not just quantity. Talk with your child about lots of topics, read a wide range of books and sing lots of songs and rhymes.

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