This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

READ USA Congratulates Julia Mayeshiba, Duval County’s Teacher of the Year

  • Read USA Inc.
  • February 16 2023

Congratulations are in order! Last week, the READ USA team had the pleasure of attending The EDDY Awards, hosted every year by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, where the community celebrates Duval County’s public school teachers of the year finalists. A community selection committee reviewed the teachers’ applications, conducted interviews, and watched footage of the teachers’ instruction in the classroom or online to select the five finalists – and a winner was announced during the event!


Congratulations to Julia Mayeshiba, a math and physics teacher at Andrew Jackson High School, on being selected the VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year! She was one of more than 160 elementary, middle, and high school teachers nominated by their schools. In addition to earning this distinguished honor, Mayeshiba drove home in a brand-new Hyundai Elantra! Read more about Mayeshiba on News4Jax.

We are so proud of ALL the teachers who were nominated and are so grateful for your daily efforts to uplift and educate the students of Duval County!


READ USA Hosts Kids Hope Alliance at Tutoring Session

Last week, READ USA had the honor of hosting members of the Kids Hope Alliance leadership team during a tour of our Literacy Tutoring program at Crown Point Elementary School. Many thanks to Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Saralyn Grass and Ms. Rose Connelly for joining us – our team and our teen tutors were so grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate how the tutoring program functions and the complexity of the literacy interventions our teen tutors conduct with elementary students.

Opportunities like these truly give our teen tutors the opportunity to shine, and we are so thankful and privileged to do so! Our teen tutors are the backbone of our Literacy Tutoring program and they are making significant contributions to closing the reading gap and helping our elementary students become lifelong readers and learners. READ USA is very grateful!

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Do you know of anyone who could benefit from a tour of Literacy Tutoring program? Let us know! Email and share your thoughts.

READ USA Board Members Convene for Annual Retreat

We are so grateful for our READ USA Board of Directors!

These 15 tremendous individuals are steadfastly committed not only to READ USA’s mission of closing the literacy gap, but to our community as a whole. This past weekend, our Board convened for our annual retreat to plan the future of READ USA, reflect on our current initiatives and growth, and refine our strategic goals for the organization. We are so thankful for their commitment and contributions to the success of READ USA – and the success of every student we engage!

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Children’s Book: The New Kid Has Fleas, by Ame Dyckman

Illustrated by Eda Kaban

The New Kid Has Fleas Book_L

Another sweet story in our collection of 2022-2023 Florida Children’s Book Award Finalists K-2nd grade is this hilarious story of a new kid in school who has apparently been raised by wolves, or at least that is what the students speculate. This new kid is different. She dresses, talks, and walks different. Could she even have…fleas?!? One lone but curious kid wonders if living in a wolf’s den could be all that bad. Soon, they even venture to visit her in this mysterious wolf’s den. Will he have to eat a squirrel for a snack? Will they have to hunt? What will the parents be like? Are they wolves too? This book introduces karma, rumors, preconceptions, and being “the new kid.” What is in the future for this new kid – will she eventually find her pack?

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Parent Education Corner: Extending Engagement with a Text

Extending Engagement with a Text

After a shared reading moment between you and your child, the opportunity to expand on their understanding and connection with a text is just beginning.

For example, at bedtime, an activity to extend engagement could be a discussion of your child’s favorite part of the book.

It may be a pointed inference about what would happen if the ending was different. You could even ask your child to change the ending and make up a new one. How would their new ending affect the most important character in the story?

However, during the day, literacy extension could take the form of dramatic play, movement, art, or interactive writing and drawing. Here are some ideas:

Dramatic play: Assign a character from the book and have your child act out the story with you. Pay attention to what your child comprehends about the actions, emotions, and conversations of the character they are portraying.

Movement: Does the book show emotion? Ask your child to find the parts where the character feels mad, sad, happy, excited. Ask them to move like the character would. What would their face look like? How would their body move?

Art: Ask your child to draw, color, paint, collage, build with playdoh or clay, a scene from the story. What details did they add? Can they add more after discussion? I use the rule: 5 details, 5 colors, 5 labels, 5 words. This is a good start to get your child thinking about the details they noticed. It might even encourage the need to peek back at the text for ideas.

Interactive Writing and Drawing: Based on the topic(s) of the book, help your child create a list of feelings, character features, or setting details within the text. When the list if finished, ask them to choose a few and draw what they listed.

There are many ways to creatively express comprehension and important characteristics of a book. READ USA wants you to challenge yourself. Set some time aside with your child for engagement with a text or two this week.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

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