This Week at READ USA

Peace In The Pages

READ to Succeed Award Honoree: Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University

  • Read USA Inc.
  • August 9 2023

READ USA is honored to feature our 2023 Peace in the Pages READ to Succeed Award Honoree, Mr. Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University!

A former Pepsico executive and self-proclaimed “corporate guy,” Mr. Cost recently celebrated his 10th year as President of Jacksonville University and has overseen tremendous growth at the university during his tenure.Tim_Cost_PITP_large_

During the past 10 years, more than 50 new programs in a variety of fields have been added, and the endowment has increased more than 25%. JU is consistently ranked a premier educational institution, and Mr. Cost has overseen more than $200 million in university investments and development campaigns. He also launched the Florida EPIC program to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, regional economic investment, and job creation – all major accomplishments that also speak to READ USA’s mission!

Mr. Cost has been a tremendous supporter of READ USA and is impressed by the evolution of READ USA’s powerful force for good by establishing meaningful programs and ongoing partnerships that are enhancing the quality of education in Jacksonville.

“By marshaling the resources of the community to give students the comfort, confidence, and agility they must have around their own set of literacy, READ USA is helping to make this university better equipped and better prepared for the future,” Mr. Cost shared. “We feel strongly here at JU that having comfort with literacy is essential to education. CEO Dr. Rob Kelly is a tremendous talent – one of our esteemed former professors – and an outstanding educator to lead READ USA in closing the gap on literacy comprehension.”

READ USA is grateful to have Mr. Cost’s support and we are proud to recognize his contributions to our community with the READ to Succeed Award!

Read more about Mr. Cost here.

Also, you can read more about our 2023 Peace in the Pages event, which will take place on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field, here.

Donors who support READ USA at $1,000 a year or more receive several benefits, including seats at Peace in the Pages. You can become a READ USA donor today by clicking here.

More Books in More Homes for Back-to-School!

It is no surprise that one of our favorite activities is getting more free books into more children’s hands, homes, and hearts!

READ USA was grateful to have such a fun time participating in three back-to-school events this past Saturday. Many thanks to Florida Blue, the Kids Hope Alliance, and the Historic Eastside CDC for hosting their recent back-to-school events, putting free backpacks, school supplies, and books into the hands of our community members who need them most to help prepare for school.

Florida Blue Back-to-School Events

At two event locations across Jacksonville, the READ USA team gave out 600 free books and 200 Student Activity Booklets to the 1,500+ families who attended these events in the northside and Town Center areas. We had so much fun!

True to his style, Florida Blue North Florida Market President Mr. Darnell Smith – who has been a tremendous supporter of READ USA – paid a visit to the events and took the time to meet with attendees and our team. We are so grateful for Mr. Smith’s and Florida Blue’s support of literacy and students in our community!

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Historic Eastside Back-2-School Event with Kids Hope Alliance
More than 300 members of the Historic Eastside community visited Flossie Brunson Park on Saturday to access a number of resources for students and their families. The event included health and wellness, educational advancement, and community outreach resources, as well as academic resources, clothing and hygiene supplies, and meals to families – plus, our favorite thing, free books!

READ USA was honored to participate in the event and provide more than 400 free books and Student Activity Booklets. Plus, many thanks to The Church of Oakland for donating 100+ books to READ USA to distribute during the event!

We are thankful to the Historic Eastside CDC and Kids Hope Alliance for inviting us to join you!


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Do You Know a Teen Searching for a Meaningful Job?

READ USA has just the opportunity for them!

Being a teen tutor in READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program offers the unique opportunity for teens to improve the lives of young students who are struggling to read. PLUS – they can earn $15/hour and receive free transportation to and from work!

Do you know of a teen or college student who:

  • Can work from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays?
  • Lives or attends school in the general areas of Arlington, Springfield, and Northwest Jacksonville? (We’ll accept students from other parts of town, too!)
  • Has flexible hours or dual enrollment? (College students from Edward Waters, Jacksonville University, or FSCJ Downtown can be ideal candidates!)

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How Literacy Tutoring Works:

Teen tutors use pre-written lesson plans to deliver high-quality reading lessons to help elementary students improve their literacy skills. READ USA provides extensive training, onboarding, on-site support, and resources to teen tutors. Tutors have one-on-one access to supervising teachers during all tutoring sessions, who oversee, coach, and guide tutors in lesson delivery.

Teen Tutors Can Expect:

  • $15/hour for 9-12 hours of work per week.
  • Transportation (if needed) to and from the selected elementary school.
  • To participate in a mandatory two-day onboarding and training session – dates TBA (tutors are paid for the training session).
  • To pass a national Level II background check, reading screener, and drug screen.

Apply Today


Children’s Book: The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig

Illustrated by Patrice Barton

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Have you ever felt invisible when you are around other people? Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody in his class ever seems to notice him, even his teacher, or think to include him at lunch, during recess, or at their birthday parties … until, one day a new boy joins his class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

The Invisible Boy is a gentle story that teaches how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. This book is a great read-aloud for back-to-school to help address the needs of quieter children, like Brian. There is a discussion guide and resources for further reading included.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Program Content Specialist

Parent Education Corner: How to Enhance the Wonderful World of Reading

As school begins, one of the most effective ways we can support our children with their education is by providing opportunities for them to read at home. Even if your child is motivated to read, supporting them in a variety of ways will keep their momentum going. Here are four tips to enhance the wonderful world of reading for your child.

  1. What’s “Just Right”?When choosing books to read at home, make sure you are finding books that are “just right.” But how do you find a “just right” book? Have your child read the back and front cover, and the first page of the book. If there are more than five words that he/she cannot pronounce or understand in context, the book may be too challenging. Be supportive about finding a more perfect fit. Choosing the right book will help your reader feel successful.
  1. Card Tricks. Do you think effective reading only takes place at libraries and bookstores? Think again! There are reading opportunities everywhere. Go to a greeting card store with your child and read the cards together. Later, vote for the ones whose words convey the best birthday wish or just thinking of you sentiment.
  1. Picture This! During your next outing or gathering, take action-packed photos, then have your child create captions to go with each picture. Assemble the pictures and captions in a picture book or album and add speech and thought bubbles to create a personalized—and probably hysterical—graphic novel.
  2. Become a Fan. Your reader will soon develop a love for particular authors and illustrators. Nurture their fan-ship by helping them write a letter to their favorite author. Many authors have their own websites with contact information. You can also contact the book’s publisher; the mailing address for which can often be found on the back of the title page or on the publisher’s website.

From Scholastic Books, 2022

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Program Content Specialist

Do you have any questions or ideas for the Parent Education Corner? Anything you’d like to learn? Let us know here!