This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

Jaguars, Free Books, and Reading…Oh My!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • November 30 2022


How about that phenomenal win this past Sunday?! Congratulations to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the #DUUUUVAL nation!

At READ USA, we have many reasons to celebrate our partners at the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and TIAA Bank. Yesterday, we collectively hosted a Literacy Locker Room event at Lone Star Elementary in Arlington – and the students’ excitement in the room was electric! 

TIAA CFO Steve Potts, Brands Partnerships Senior Manager Tori Pappas, Jaguars Foundation and Community Impact Director Adriel Rocha, and READ USA CEO Dr. Rob Kelly attended the event. Special guests were Jacksonville Jaguars #47 De’Shaan Dixon, #84 Chris Manhertz, and Jaxson de Ville.

Children receive free books from the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and TIAA Bank during Literacy Locker Room events at elementary schools across Duval County. TIAA Bank donates the books through its “Touchdowns for Tomorrow” program, which donates 100 free books for every touchdown the Jags score this football season. Jacksonville Jaguars players also read with the children during Literacy Locker Room events, providing an exceptional, memorable opportunity to engage young minds in literacy and life-long reading. 

Check out some of the photos from yesterday’s event, which was sponsored by TIAA Bank. 

Thank you to the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and TIAA Bank for your ongoing support of READ USA and helping close the literacy gap in Duval County!

Literacy Locker Room 11.29 (2) Literacy Locker Room 11.29 (4) Literacy Locker Room 11.29 (1)

#ICYMI: Help READ USA Secure a $1 Million Matching Opportunity

Our mission to improve grade-level reading proficiency, close the literacy gap, and end the cycle of generational poverty is only possible because of the generous support of our donors.

Right now, READ USA has an opportunity to enhance our work through a tremendously generous $1 million donation match from the Michael Ward and Jennifer Glock Foundation. To receive these funds, READ USA must secure $1 million in donations by December 31st of this year – and we have $90,000 left to raise! To be eligible for the match, donors must make a four-year donation commitment of any amount by the end of this year.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, hear from one of our teen tutors about how your support enables READ USA to achieve remarkable progress in Duval County elementary students through our Literacy Tutoring program:


Please consider making a four-year commitment to READ USA today to help us close the literacy gap in our community. We are so grateful for your support!

Donate Today

Children’s Book: The Three Princes of Serendip: New Tellings of Old Tales for Everyone, by Rodaan Al Galidi

The Three Princes Book

Illustrated by Geertje Aalders

Translated by Laura Watkinson

A beautifully illustrated anthology of Middle Eastern fairytales, this book holds the treasure that author Rodaan Al Galidi heard and read through the years of his childhood. We can learn a lot from stories passed through generations. We learn from their lessons, their humor, and their problems. Al Galidi recalls tales such as, “The Lion and the Bull,” teaching us that we are stronger in unison than divided. Or another great story: “The Partridge and the Turtles,” a story that teaches us that to have full control of our life is not always necessary. Control is sometimes anxiety inducing. The pages are full of paper cut illustrations, unique to this illustration style giving abstract design to morally focused stories. The pairing is charming and sure to be aesthetically and nostalgically pleasing to young and old, alike.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Education Corner -The Five Pillars of Reading: Phonics

“The truly literate are not those who know how to read, but those who read: independently, responsively, critically, and because they want to.”

-Glenna Sloan

This week we will be looking at the Phonics component of reading and ways to help students grow in this area.

  • Phonological awareness – awareness of the sound structure of words (last week)
  • Phonics* – correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters
  • Fluency – accuracy, rate and expression while reading
  • Vocabulary – the body of words a child has learned
  • Reading comprehension – the understanding and interpretation of what is read

“The relationship between the phonological aspects of language (the sounds) and the graphic signs (the letters and combinations of letters) is an important source of information for readers. The reader needs to notice the visual form and its features, hear the sound in the spoken word and link to its visual form while reading text.” Fountas and Pinnell, 2017

Phonics instruction is designed to help students read accurately while decoding and recognizing words to aid in comprehension. Note that while phonics skills are necessary for learning to read, they are not enough on their own. These skills must be interwoven with instruction in fluency and comprehension skills.

Phonics and word play can be fun and engaging. Round up some magnetic letters and a metal cookie tray and have fun playing with words with your child.

  1. Letter Play: Encourage children to play with the letters. Playing with letters allows them to learn more about how they look.
  2. Making Names: A child’s name is the most important word. Have children make their names several times, mixing up the letters, making their names, and checking them with their names written on a card.
  3. Magazine Math: Look through a magazine or newspaper with children, cutting out some large print simple words (such as man, box, boy). Glue them on a sheet of paper with plenty of space below each. Have children make each word below the printed one.
  4. Blends and Digraphs: Have your child be a word collector. Select a new blend or digraph every few days that the family can work together gathering as many words as possible and writing them on a paper hung on the fridge. Perhaps having columns for mom, dad, brother, etc. The family member who collects the most words with that blend or digraph wins! (For example: fl-, fly, flew, flat, fling, flip.   br-, bring, brick, broken, brake. Etc.)
  5. Spelling Patterns: Make a list of words with the same spelling pattern (night, light, right, fight) and ask them what they notice. Challenge them to come up with additional spelling families that are spelled and sound the same at the end of the word.
  6. Word Structure Skills: Help students learn how words are related to one another and how they can be changed by adding letters, and larger word parts. Using magnetic letters, a wipe-off board or piece of paper, show your child the word “slow.” Add ‘-er’, ‘-ed’, ‘-ing’, ‘-s’ to the end of the word and ask them how the meaning of the word changes. Encourage them to explain how they know.
  7. Get to the Root of the Word: When students work with base words and affixes, they also learn about word roots. With older students, explore different places to find words with Greek or Latin roots in them. How many words can you find with the same Latin or Greek roots? Imagine the increase in vocabulary! (auto-, bio-, ath- etc.)

For additional information about phonics, visit: