This Week at READ USA

READ USA to Conduct Literacy Tutoring for 2-5th Grades at Arlington Elementary

  • Read USA Inc.
  • November 11 2022

READ USA is ready to begin Literacy Tutoring for FOUR grade levels at Arlington Elementary next week!

Last month, READ USA was honored to be a recipient of a $500,000 grant from United Way of Northeast Florida to increase opportunities for stable employment in our community. The two-year, $250,000-per-year grant is focused on career readiness, job training, and workforce development, and now we are thrilled to share the details of how this grant will help even more students succeed!

READ USA will be expanding the Literacy Tutoring program to elementary students in 2nd through 5th grades at Arlington Elementary School starting next week – enabling us to hire more teen tutors! This is also the first time that READ USA will stay at one school for nearly two years across multiple grade levels, which enables us to track progress of the same students in the same school over time. Since READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program is currently the only reading intervention at Arlington Elementary, it also gives us the ability to attribute students’ reading achievement to READ USA’s unique tutoring model. Additionally, by creating a longer-term intervention, we can further evaluate the Literacy Tutoring program overall and make any adjustments to the program to inform future improvement.

This significant expansion of the Literacy Tutoring program – and the need for more teen tutors – ultimately helps READ USA better prepare even more Duval County teenagers for the workforce and potential future careers in education. Through highly focused skills development with tutor coordinators, tutor supervisors, teachers and other supports, the Literacy Tutoring program further supports teenagers who are part of Duval County Public Schools’ “Duval Ready” program, a high school workforce development initiative where students participate in the “Florida Ready to Work” curriculum.

This exceptional grant from United Way will help READ USA multiply our positive, lifelong impact on both the elementary students receiving tutoring AND the teenagers who tutor them.

Thank you to United Way and Arlington Elementary for making this opportunity possible! We are so excited to get started!

Tutoring_ArlingtonElementary (3) Tutoring_ArlingtonElementary (2) Tutoring_ArlingtonElementary (1)


Upcoming Literacy Locker Rooms

As part of our partnership with the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and TIAA Bank, READ USA hosts Literacy Locker Rooms where sponsors provide free books to elementary school students and Jaguars players team up with children to read books together. Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors and supporters, we have two more Literacy Locker Rooms coming up this football season:

  • November 29th at the R.L. Brown Elementary
  • December 6th at Guardian Catholic School

We are so grateful to our sponsors, the Jaguars Foundation, and TIAA Bank for making these memorable events possible! You are truly making a lifelong impression on these elementary students!

Jags Literacy Locker Room (2) Jags Literacy Locker Room (1)


Children’s Book: Nina, A Story of Nina Simone, by Traci N. Todd

Nina book cover

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Eunice Kathleen Waymon was born in 1933. Later, playing jazz clubs as “Nina Simone,” she snuck by with her jazz music filling the air and hearts of all around her. As a baby, and hanging onto the teachings of her daddy, Eunice learned quickly that mama didn’t like Jazz. Mama was a minister and taught Eunice to play proper church music with her noticeable musical talents. She was good at sitting on daddy’s knee, playing warm jazzy notes up and down the scales. As soon as mama would come, she would slip right into one of mama’s favorite church songs.

As her talent grew, and despite the intolerance surrounding her, Eunice left and began music study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She set her sights on “the famous Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia” and her family moved there to support her. Alas, although her audition was flawless, they declined her entry because of her race. She felt discouraged enough to give up on her dreams. But the music couldn’t be stilled for long. Soon, she found herself playing piano in a club. As her confidence grew, she changed her name to “Nina Simone” out of respect for her mama. She knew mama wouldn’t approve of this type of music. While her fame was rising and rising, so were the voices of people around her who were done being treated as less than human.

Hearing the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, Nina finally felt enough hurt to add to the beat of the drum pounding the rhythm of justice and equality. Finally, Nina used her voice for something other than song, she used it to call for the fair treatment of all.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director


Education Corner - What is Print Awareness? 

Print awareness is just what it sounds like: being aware that print functions in a specific way and gives information. Print awareness happens because of exposure to letters, words, and text, in any form. When children are exposed to print, they begin to realize that print has a purpose and function. Reading Rockets says, “Children with print awareness understand that print has different functions depending on the context in which it appears — for example, menus list food choices, a book tells a story, a sign can announce a favorite restaurant or warn of danger.”

Print awareness can be seen early on with toddlers who may turn a book to face right side up, turn pages one by one, or point to letters, pictures and words, and babble as if they’re reading. This means the child is engaging in modeling behavior and they have seen reading happening around them.

To increase print awareness, use these strategies:

  • Have letters, books, magazines, labels, and other literacy materials readily available for kids to explore.
  • Make print material available around the child’s bedroom, such as posters, book nooks, etc.
  • Actively participate in the discussion of signs, text, book reading, and words seen in the environment.
  • Encourage children to point out specific letters, point to whole words, and begin reading from left to right and top to bottom.
  • Ask questions like:
    • Where is the front of the book?
    • Where do you start reading?
    • Where is the first word?
    • Where is the last word?

For further reading about how you can encourage print awareness visit Reading Rockets here!

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