This Week at READ USA

Professional Development

Thank You, Jax Chamber Arlington Council!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • February 2 2023

Last week, READ USA’s CEO Dr. Rob Kelly spoke to a captivated room of attendees at the JAX Chamber Arlington Council’s January breakfast gathering. He addressed early childhood literacy and READ USA’s efforts to close the literacy gap in Duval County, and how local businesses in Arlington can support these efforts.

We are grateful for the invitation to attend and speak to the Arlington Council’s members! We appreciated the thoughtful questions and discussion around the room, and most importantly the new connections we were able to make with local Arlington business owners. Thank you so much for having READ USA join you all!

ArlingtonRob1_large  ArlingtonRob2_large

 If you know of a local group that would like to learn more about early childhood literacy and how together we can all make strides to close the literacy gap, let us know! Email to share the details and our team will follow up with you.   

READ USA Attends Florida Literacy Association Conference

READ USA had the honor to participate in the Florida Literacy Association’s Statewide Literacy Conference last week! We hosted a booth with information and resources for educators on how they can continually refine and improve their daily efforts in the classroom to improve early childhood literacy, and we gave away a number of free children’s books!

 READ USA Staff Nahume, Kathi, Tabetha_large  FLA_large

Our CEO Dr. Rob Kelly, who is also the Literacy Projects Chair for the Florida Literacy Association, represented READ USA and met with so many phenomenal educators, authors, and others who are just as passionate about our favorite thing as we are: Literacy! TOY_Large_

Dr. Kelly had the privilege to present the award for the Florida Literacy Association’s 2022 Teacher of the Year to Gina Hufty, and had the pleasure of meeting with New York Times-bestselling and Newberry Medal-winning author Matt de la Pena, who has authored numerous children’s and young adult books and who was the closing session keynote speaker:

 Author Matt de la Pena and Rob_large

“A good writer doesn’t go into a story with a message. A good writer, however, does go into a story with a point of view.” -Matt de la Pena

You continue to inspire us, Gina and Matt!

Thank you to the Florida Literacy Association for inviting READ USA to participate! We had so much fun celebrating literacy with everyone!

Next Saturday, Feb. 11: FSCJ Literacy Fair

Remember to mark your calendars for the Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Literacy Fair taking place next Saturday, Feb. 11! This FREE event is for the whole family, young and old, to come together and celebrate a love of reading.

FSCJ Flyer

Children’s Book: What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures, by Heather L. Montgomery


Illustrated by Maribel Lechugawhats-in-your-pocket-cover_large

 “Every famous scientist was once a curious kid.” Although these children didn’t know it when they were little, their attraction toward collecting nature’s clutter, stuffing pockets with discoveries, and writing about the wonderful curiosities they found were growing their brains as up-and-coming scientists! This children’s book introduces famous scientists but not as we know them. We learn about Jane Goodall and how she kept worms under her pillow. Jane grew up to be a famous primatologist who studied and reported on chimpanzees. We follow George Washington Carver as he finds a seed pod that explodes all over his living room, much to the chagrin of his mama. George later helped farmers grow peanuts in poor soil and find multiple uses of the crop. There is a whole world around us. Kids have helped to discover that world, to create collections, and “change the world of science.” This narrative tale encourages children to start with one tiny discovery that may even be able to fit in their pocket.

 Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Parent Education Corner: Starting a Habit of Daily Reading in Your Home

Parent guilt – all parents all have it. You may ask yourself, “Am I doing enough for my preschooler? Am I reading the right thing? How does my child compare to their friends?” These thoughts creep into the heads of all parents who just want to do what’s right by their babies. I would like to remind you that every conversation, every moment of connection, and every bit of time reading together will matter later. Even if you only have 5 minutes to spare, 5 minutes is better than zero minutes. During this time, young children should be free to explore books, talk about what they like or don’t like, and talk about feelings of characters and pictures that spark their interest. They should get enjoyment out of reading. Most importantly, children need someone to read with! That someone is you. Here are some ideas to get your child curious about reading.

  • Offer a variety of books to peruse.
  • Offer a variety of medias (magazines, board books, menus, signs, stories, nonfiction books, ads, etc.).
  • Let your child ask you questions about what they see in a book.
  • Show genuine excitement about their interest in reading with you.
  • Find a cozy spot and turn off all technology.
  • Point out things you and your child might recognize and connect with in the book.
  • Set aside time each day for these moments, and don’t let anything interrupt!
  • When your child decides they are finished, let them finish.
  • Let your child see you choose reading instead of television sometimes.

As these suggestions find a more frequent spot in your home, your young reader will begin to crave this quiet and thoughtful time together.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

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