This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

Fantastic Firsts: READ USA Hosts Book Fair in Fort Lauderdale

  • Read USA Inc.
  • March 13 2024

Last Friday was a monumental day for READ USA and the students at Morrow Elementary School in North Lauderdale!

Not only was this READ USA’s first Book Fair of the year (officially kicking off our 2024 Book Fair season!), more importantly, for most of the 500+ K-5 students at Morrow Elementary, this was their first Book Fair ever!


This was also READ USA’s first Book Fair hosted outside of Duval County, a tremendous milestone for READ USA as we scale and expand our footprint. We hope it’s the first of many more to come!

We truly delight in seeing budding young mind express such joy and enthusiasm about books – the energy in the room was palpable among not only the students, but the teachers, staff, and volunteers, too! To provide access to a variety of books that students can choose is an honor and privilege, and we are thankful for the opportunity to help bring smiles + Book Choice and Ownership to the students at Morrow Elementary.

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We are immensely grateful for the support of the Federal Bar Association, which provided a grant to help fund the Book Fair, and thank you to READ USA Vice Board Chair Vanessa Tussey for applying for the grant.

Our heartfelt gratitude also extends to U.S. State Attorney Markenzy Lapoint, the federal judges, and the attorneys at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and other local law firms who all volunteered their time. Many thanks also to Broward County Public Schools Board Chair Lori Alhadeff and Deputy Superintendent Howard Hepburn for joining us!

We hope every student at Morrow Elementary School enjoys their new books and activity guides!

$12 to Sponsor a Student

READ USA is offering an affordable, one-of-a-kind opportunity to positively impact a student’s life!

Through READ USA Book Fairs, $12 empowers a student to choose two free, brand-new books to take home and keep. It’s the perfect opportunity to sponsor a student today!

With 61% of low-income households having zero books in them, we intentionally created the READ USA Book Fairs to level the playing field and give EVERY student the opportunity to choose and own their own books – and you can be a part of it.

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Starting in April, all 51,000+ elementary students in Duval County Public Schools will receive two free, brand-new books at READ USA Book Fairs, plus reading activity guides and parent/guardian resources to help keep reading fun, engaging, and top-of-mind at home. A $12 investment today can make all the difference to a child tomorrow!

Sponsor a Student


Opportunity to Donate Books: Tenikka’s Books for Kids      

Do you have any new or gently used books that could use a new home? Well, here’s your chance!

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Through this Saturday, March 16, local Action News Jax Anchor Tenikka Hughes is hosting her Tenikka’s Books for Kids book drive. All books collected will be given free-of-charge to local children who meet their reading goals during the Jacksonville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.

There are multiple ways to donate – including drop-off locations around the city and ordering books from Tenikka’s Books for Kids Amazon Wish List – and you can see the full list here. This year, you can also make a monetary contribution through the Library Foundation of Jacksonville.

Congratulations and many thanks to Tenikka Hughes for keeping Tenikka’s Books for Kids going strong for seven years now!

Also, keep an eye out for an exciting release! Jeremy, the fictional namesake of our Jeremy’s Journey children’s book series, recently sat down with Tenikka and we will be sharing her story with Jacksonville soon!

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AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders Continue Their Growth

This past week, READ USA hosted 57 of our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders at the Schultz Center for a day of training as part of their ongoing growth and development through the AmeriCorps program at READ USA.

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The training’s focus was on Trust-Based Relational Intervention, or TBRI, which helped our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders develop skills to be leaders in their schools and to better understand and serve students that may need more informed or extra support during Literacy Tutoring. The engagement and genuine interest among this stellar group of AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders was inspiring throughout the entire, eight-hour training!

Many thanks to Hope & Healing JAX’s team members Jackie Green, director of programs, and Tyree Williams, practitioner facilitator, for leading the training and making it interesting, interactive, and most importantly, impactful.

We are thrilled to watch our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders continue to grow!

#ICYMI: Curious about AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders program? Read more about it here!                


Congratulations to Mayor Donna Deegan and Peter Racine of Jaguars Foundation

Last week, our Board Chair Ellen Wiss and CEO Dr. Rob Kelly had the pleasure of attending the 2024 Girls Inc. of Jacksonville Celebration Luncheon, held at WJCT Studios.

Our heartfelt congratulations go to Peter Racine, senior vice president of the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, who was honored as a 2024 Champion for Girls for his work towards the betterment of women and girls in our community. READ USA has experienced first-hand Peter’s passion for helping others and his unwavering dedication to making our city a better place for everyone to live and thrive. We are grateful for his and the Jaguars Foundation’s long-time support of Girls, Inc. and READ USA, and we were immensely proud to support him at the event – this recognition of him was beyond well deserved!

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Congratulations also to Mayor Donna Deegan for being honored at the event! And, congratulations to the Girls, Inc. team for hosting a lovely event and their inspiring update on their vital work in Jacksonville that is “Helping Girls become Focused, Fierce and Fearless!” We were thankful to attend and support!

Double Dose of Fun at Jax Public Library

READ USA participated in not one, but two events this past weekend at the Jacksonville Public Library downtown.

EarlyLearning_larg For starters, Mayor Donna Deegan’s River City Readers Challenge has been met – and now increased! School-aged children from across Jacksonville far exceeded the Challenge’s original goal and are now encouraged to log 1 million minutes of reading by the end of 2024 through the Beanstack app (more details here).

To celebrate the milestone and new goal, Mayor Donna Deegan’s River City Readers hosted a Family Reading Day to distribute free books and backpacks. READ USA handed out hundreds of books while attendees enjoyed activities and a literacy parade featuring popular children’s book characters. It was certainly a book-tastic day of family fun for all!

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That same day, Mayor Donna Deegan’s River City Readers also hosted an early learning literacy event with hundreds of PreK through 2nd-graders who received free books from READ USA.

Many thanks to the Mayor Donna Deegan’s River City Readers, the Jacksonville Public Library, Kids Hope Alliance, and the Jacksonville Public Education Fund for yet another wonderful event focused on our favorite things: books and reading!

Children’s Book: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Written and illustrated by Eric Carle

The Tiny Seed is a charming book about the life cycle of a flower through the adventure of a particularTheTinySeed_large tiny seed.

The story begins in Autumn with the wind sweeping up seeds to start an exciting journey through the different seasons. One by one, many of the seeds are lost – burned by the sun, fallen into the ocean, eaten by a bird. But some survive the long winter and, come spring, sprout into plants, facing new dangers – trampled by playing children, picked as a gift for a friend. Soon only the tiniest seed remains, growing into a giant flower and, when autumn returns, sending its own seeds into the wind to start the process over again.

Eric Carle's eloquent text and brilliant collages turn the simple life cycle of a plant into an exciting story, a nature lesson, and an inspiring message about the importance of perseverance.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, READ USA Content Specialist

Parent Education Corner: Literacy Scavenger Hunt

During Spring Break, keep your child engaged in literacy with these exciting literacy activities.

Work together as a family to complete the Literacy Scavenger Hunt. Make sure to take pictures and share with family and friends as you participate in these fun literacy activities:

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Submitted by Kathi Hart, READ USA Content Specialist

From Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI)