This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

“It’s a drastic change from beginning to end…”

  • Read USA Inc.
  • December 20 2023

Our teen tutors are on the front lines of READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program every day. From being the first READ USA team member that elementary students meet when tutoring starts to daily delivery of literacy lessons, our teen tutors see first-hand the transformation that students make in literacy skills, confidence, and enjoyment of reading.

Watch one of our teen tutors describe the feeling of witnessing and being a part of this life-improving transformation:

Our teen tutors truly are changing lives! And, just as importantly, they are learning from and enjoying the process along the journey.

Your support of READ USA is what makes this transformational journey possible for both our tutors and elementary students. Considering donating to READ USA today!

Donate Today

Merry Christmas to All Who Celebrate

READ USA wishes a very Merry Christmas on Monday to all who celebrate! The READ USA offices are officially closed during the week of December 25, and our team is excited to spend the holidays next week with family and friends.

Some of our team members may even spend time reading a popular children’s Christmas story that we love called The Christmas Owl by Ellen Kalish and Gideon Sterer, illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki.

Do you recall when, in 2020, a little Northern saw-whet owl was rescued from the 75-foot Christmas tree that was destined for Rockefeller Center in New York City? (Here’s an article about it from 2020.) Well, that true story became the basis for The Christmas Owl!

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Similar to the true story of “Rocky,” Little Owl’s home is cut down to become a Christmas tree, and she becomes hesitant about wanting anything to do with Christmas. However, she is saved by a warmhearted woman named Ellen (READ USA has our very own Ellen, too!), who brings her home to spend Christmas with other birds she is caring for that she has rescued. But, in the end – after experiencing the kindness and love of new friends – she thinks that maybe, just maybe, Christmas isn’t so bad after all!

Just like Santa says, with a READ USA twist, “Merry Christmas to All (who celebrate!), and to All, a Good Read!”

Spreading Holiday Joy, One Book at a Time

The READ USA team has been quite busy across the community during the past week!

For starters, today we wrapped up the last visit of Jeremy’s Winter Festival! During the past few weeks, READ USA and Jeremy – our fictional namesake of our Jeremy’s Journey children’s book series – has visited seven local elementary schools, distributing more than 2,600+ backpacks filled with books and other goodies for students to enjoy during the holiday break.

We are so grateful for our amazing team and volunteers who made these events possible, and the wonderful teachers and staff at the elementary schools we visited.

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Jeremys_Beauclerc2_largeThis past weekend, our team also distributed 500+ free books as holiday gifts for underserved children and children in foster care through our partnership with Jewish Family and Community Services! We are grateful for our partnership with JFCS and Donna O’Steen, who graciously joined us – thank you for inviting READ USA to join you!

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READ USA was also incredibly humbled and honored to participate in Families of Slain Children, Inc.’s annual Christmas Party, where we gave out more than 300 free books. FOSCI’s mission is to support families impacted by homicide through grief counseling, sympathetic visits, prevention and intervention services, and support groups. FOSCI also raises funds to help survivors of homicide overcome financial losses, and you can donate to their mission and work here.

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READ USA is grateful for the opportunity to help spread a little holiday joy through books this season, and we are so thankful to our donors, volunteers, and supporters who make it all possible. THANK YOU!

Are You Ready for 2024? We (Almost) Are, Too

This week officially wrapped up the fall 2023 semester of Literacy Tutoring! To our teen tutors, teacher coordinators, and volunteers who have been with us these past five months, thank you for helping make this semester such a success!

As our teen tutors get ready for a much-deserved holiday break, the READ USA team is getting ramped up for spring 2024 – and we are still hiring for a few more tutor spots for the spring!

READ USA is seeking teens and young adults aged 16-25 who can work up to 9 hours per week from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Teen tutors earn $15/hour, can receive free transportation to and from work if needed, and receive robust training so they hit the ground running on Day One. We are particularly in need of teen tutors for Northside elementary schools – so, any teens from Ribault, Raines, Andrew Jackson, and Paxon would be ideal candidates!

If you know anyone who could be interested, send them our way!

Apply Today

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Children’s Book: Llama Llama Holiday Drama, by Anna Dewdney

Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdneylama lama_large

In this delightful rhyming picture book, Llama Llama is excited for the holidays, but is completely overwhelmed by all the festivities and the endless waiting for presents. The excitement of the holiday builds as Llama Llama and his mother shop for presents and bakes cookies for his classmates and his family. In this story, Llama learns the importance of waiting and patience. He also learns the real reason for the holiday season.

The countdown for Llama started on December 15th, but Llama soon learned that all the hard work and preparation for the holidays was only prolonging his special day. As the days trailed by, Llama’s anxiety grew so much, causing a concern for his mother. She explained to Llama that his special day was reflective of more than just receiving gifts and toys, but the season was also an opportunity to pause and give thanks for family, friends, and loved ones. In addition to the holiday treats and feasts, the joy of hope and giving was essential for Llama’s special day.

Submitted by Dr. Barbara Lacey-Allen, Books Programs and Family Engagement Director

Parent Education Corner: Creating Holiday Learning Traditions

This holiday season, consider adding some new traditions for your family that will make meaningful memories and strengthen foundations for reading and learning success.

Listen, laugh and learn        

  • Listen to audio books while you are traveling to visit family, wrapping gifts, or cooking for the holidays.
  • Lyrics to holiday songs are fun to read and sing together. It is also good fun and good shared writing practice to make up your own lyrics to familiar tunes.
  • Start a story-telling tradition by revisiting holidays of the past. Old family photographs at holiday gatherings will help prompt stories about your own life and family traditions.

Read, relax, and respond

  • Put reading and writing skills to practical use. Plan holiday meals by reading cookbooks together, writing shopping lists, and finding the needed items at the store by reading signs and labels. Read the recipe and cook together. During the simmering and baking, kids can write and decorate menus or place cards for special holiday meals.  
  • Set aside time just for reading. Curl up on the couch together and read aloud an old favorite or check out books about another culture's winter celebrations.
  • Give your child a book for the holidays. It doesn't have be new — you can share one of your favorite books or look for a special old book from a used bookstore! If relatives are looking for gift ideas for your child, ask them to give a book this year.
  • Work on those letters. Improve writing skills with notes or letters to relatives and friends, thanking them for their holiday gifts.

From Reading Rockets,

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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