This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

#ICYMI: Ronnie’s Transformational Experience

  • Read USA Inc.
  • November 29 2023

Yesterday, READ USA had the privilege to share a piece of Ronnie’s story. Ronnie, one of our many dedicated teen tutors, has been using the skills he’s learned as a READ USA tutor to help his parents, who are from Senegal in West Africa, improve their English. This experience has been exceptional for him because, “…the reason they came to America is to give their kids opportunities they didn’t have, and I’m able to use this program to help them feel the same thing.”

Every day, we are in awe at what our teen tutors accomplish both inside the classroom and beyond – and Ronnie is truly an inspiration who stands out among fellow teens his age:


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Big Weekend Coming Up at READ USA!

Our READ USA team is gearing up for a busy and fun-filled weekend!

Mock Tutor Interviews

Ever since READ USA hired our first group of teen tutors in 2019, we have been intentional with creating opportunities beyond a paycheck for our teen tutors to build workforce skills and set them up for future success, no matter the future career path they choose. This has culminated into our Workforce Development Program that provides ongoing opportunities to build skills in the areas of financial and digital literacy, career exploration, interview preparation, resume building, professional conduct, and most recently, our AmeriCorps Tutor Leaders program (you can read more about that here).

As a part of our focus on workforce development, this Saturday we will host a variety of professionals from all sorts of industries to conduct mock interviews with our teen tutors! From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Schultz Center, professionals will help tutors sharpen their interview skills, refine how they present themselves professionally, boost confidence, and set them up for success!

It’s not too late to join us if you want to volunteer as a mock interviewer! Sign up here.

Tutor Training

In addition to our teen tutor interviewees, 31 new and 20 returning teen tutors will also join us at the Schultz Center this weekend for their two-day Literacy Tutoring training!

READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring training is intensive: teen tutors learn everything from reading and phonics lesson structure and implementation, to best instructional practices, to how to sustain student focus and engagement. But it doesn’t stop there! Our peer-to-peer tutoring model also cultivates social-emotional skills in elementary students and teen tutors, promoting mental and emotional wellness, safety, and inclusion. And, as a teen tutor, they also receive READ USA’s robust Workforce Development training opportunities.

We always love our tutor training days and are excited to host these passionate teens!

We cannot wait to share photos and updates from all the fun activities happening at READ USA this weekend!

Help Us Distribute Backpacks at Schools in December

Jeremy – our fictional namesake of our Jeremy’s Journey children’s book series – hits the road this December with books and backpacks in tow for Jeremy’s Winter Festival!

From Dec. 5th through 20th, Jeremy and the READ USA team will visit seven elementary schools to distribute 2,700+ backpacks filled with books and other goodies for students to enjoy, just in time for the holiday season – and we’d love for you to join us!

Volunteers are needed for two time slots, either 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at the following schools:

  • Dec. 5: Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary
  • Dec. 8: Arlington Elementary
  • Dec. 11: Long Branch Elementary
  • Dec. 14: Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary
  • Dec. 15: Beauclerc Elementary
  • Dec. 18: Lake Lucina Elementary
  • Dec. 20: S.A. Hull Elementary

To volunteer at any of the schools, please click here.

Thank you for helping Jeremy and READ USA make the holiday and winter season brighter for these students!

And many, many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who are helping stuff these backpacks this coming weekend at the Schultz Center!


Know a Leader We Should Honor? Tell us!

For our 2024 Peace in the Pages event, READ USA’s annual celebration of literacy and seven community champions, we would love to hear who YOU think we should recognize!

Tell us who you think embraces literacy for all and embodies the values of empathy, peace, non-violence, health, education, freedom, leadership, and success:

READ to Lead Award

This award recognizes someone who exhibits the bravery and willingness to lead – especially when such leadership is difficult.

READ to Succeed Award

This award is presented to an individual who embodies how reading fuels success in life.

READ to be Free Award

This award was created to honor an individual who understands the connection between the individual empowerment that comes from literacy and freedom. As George Washington Carver once said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom,” and our award recipient is also someone who fully embodies this ideal.

READ to Heal Award

This award recognizes someone who embodies the importance of healing in all forms – intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Healing brings our community together and unites us in support and respect for one another, and the recipient of this award personifies the intersection of healing and literacy.

READ to Remember Award

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” The recipient of this award makes historical connections relevant to today and embraces literacy as the connection between our past, present, and future.

Marjorie Broward Memorial Scholarship Award

Marjorie Broward established libraries all over the globe and, closer to home, initiated JAX READS and many other book-related projects during her 95 years on this earth. It is in honor of this remarkable leader that READ USA established the Marjorie Broward Memorial Scholarship Award, which is presented to a school leader who exemplifies Marjorie’s commitment to service, community, and the common good.

Mark Landen Memorial Award for Democracy through Journalism

Mark Landen worked for the Florida Times-Union for 30 years, starting by delivering papers and rising to the position of Director of Circulation. Mark’s legacy and unwavering commitment to journalism is the essence of this award recipient: a member of the media who embodies the ideals of sound journalism, ethics, and most importantly, the role literacy plays in our democracy.

Nominate Today

Save The Date: 2024 Peace in the Pages

  • October 2, 2024
  • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • EverBank Stadium

Children’s Book: Once Upon a Book, by Grace Lin and Kate Messner

Illustrated by Grace LinOnce Upon A Book_large

We love to read books because of the places they transport us to and to experience different aspects of life and cultures. In the story Once Upon a Book, Alice, the main character can go anywhere in the magical pages of her favorite book. When the book flaps its pages and invites her in, she is swept away to a world of wonder and adventure. Alice’s exploration of different environments (such as a rainforest and a desert) may spark families’ interest in learning more about those places. Curiosity, imagination, and the warmth of family and home are highlighted.

In this wonderful picture book, the text builds patterns, and a pleasing rhythm with repeating sentence structures; children will delight in anticipating what comes next. Lin’s lush full-bleed spreads invite readers to take the journey with Alice, whose dress changes color in each environment, making her blend into every one of the worlds. That Alice is an Asian girl says much about the authors’ wishes for all children to see themselves in the books they read.

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

Parent Education Corner: Reading Aloud with Infants

We READ ALOUD so babies can:

  • associate reading and books with warm, pleasant feelings.
  • hear sounds, rhythms, and words.
  • use their senses—listening, seeing, touching.
  • make sounds. They coo, gurgle, babble, and eventually, talk.
  • have fun!

Choose books babies like:

  • Very young babies love to hear familiar voices. You can read anything to them, but they especially like nursery rhymes and other stories with set rhythms.
  • Babies enjoy board books with simple, bright pictures against solid backgrounds.
  • As babies learn to grasp things, pick light, washable cloth and vinyl books.
  • When babies are old enough to hold things, provide brightly colored board books featuring only one or two objects per page.
  • As babies become interested in what’s inside a book, read books with bright pictures of animals, babies, and familiar objects.
  • As babies begin to talk, read books that invite them to repeat rhymes, words, and phrases.
  • When older babies want to join in, read books with textures, things to touch, flaps to lift, tabs to pull, and holes where they can poke their fingers.

Try these ideas:

  • Hold the baby in your lap; make sure he or she can see the pictures.
  • Play with words, sing, and make up rhymes; include the baby’s name.
  • Expect babies to touch, grasp, and taste—this is how they learn.
  • Offer the baby a toy to hold and chew while listening to you read.
  • Read one or two pages at a time; gradually increase the number of pages.
  • Let the baby turn the pages if he or she is more interested in the book than listening to you read. He or she will still be learning about books and enjoying your company.
  • Point to, name, and talk about things in pictures. Describe what’s happening.
  • Ask the baby: “Where’s the...?” “What’s that...?” Wait for a response.
  • Encourage a baby to join in—moo like a cow or finish a repetitive phrase.
  • Stay on a page as long as a baby is interested.
  • Put the book away and do something else when the baby loses interest.

From Reading Aloud with Babies © Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.

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!

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