This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

READ USA Book Fairs Start Next Week!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • April 5 2023

It’s not too late to join us!

This coming Monday, April 10th kicks off one of our favorite seasons of the year: READ USA Book Fair Season!

During the next seven weeks, READ USA will bring a Scholastic STEM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Book Fair to all 102 public elementary schools across Duval County, reaching more than 51,100 budding young minds!

Join us as a volunteer to witness the impact of Book Choice & Ownership when we empower elementary students of all ages and grades to choose what they want to read, ultimately fueling the possibility of them finding joy in reading and becoming lifelong readers and learners.

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Our donors and volunteers make the Book Fairs possible, and we are so grateful. It’s not too late to register as a volunteer and select the school(s) you want to support!

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Celebrating Reading is What We Do Best!

As part of Celebrate Reading Week last week, READ USA joined multiple community partners on Saturday at Family Reading Day at James Weldon Johnson Park in downtown for a day of family fun!

We had a blast helping kids pick out their own FREE books from READ USA and enjoy all of the festivities, including meeting children’s book characters, face painters, and so much more! We think the parents had just as much fun as the kids!

Check out the photos from the event – we’re still feeling the energy and we’re carrying that right into the start of READ USA Book Fairs next week!

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READ USA also hosted several read alouds at local elementary schools last week as part of Celebrate Reading Week, which always brings such join to our team’s hearts!

At Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary, our Literacy Tutoring Program Director Tabetha Cox enjoyed reading The Circus Ship to a 1st grade class:


On Friday, our CEO Dr. Rob Kelly enjoyed visiting with students at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. Lorenzo Butler and Brett Bessent of Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department joined us and read a book to Mrs. Foerman (2nd grade) and Mrs. Fry’s (3rd grade) classes!

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   Also on Friday, our Book Programs Director Nahume Mosby and Principal Jasmin Gomez read books to children at San Jose Elementary:



Children’s Book: The Circus Ship, by Chris Van Dusen CircusShip_large

Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

This rhyming picture book is full of humor and heart. It tells the story of poor circus animals who are left on their own after their circus ship sinks off the coast of Maine. The circus animals swim through chilly water until they finally reach the shore of a small island. The townspeople of the island do not know what to make of these circus animals, but soon learn to admire their kind and courageous ways. The animals and the townspeople learn to live in harmony and not even a visit from the grouchy circus owner could dampen the peaceful atmosphere. Chris Van Dusen presents an entertaining tale with illustrations bursting with color about the bonds of community and friendship.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Content Specialist

Parent Education Corner: Learning About Letters

Learning about letters is important in the development of our preschoolers. There are many ways to support children in this learning, that are easy and fun!

Learning to Look at Letters

As readers, we see letters as different from one another, but to preschoolers, letters may look the same – a lot of sticks and curves. Before children are ready to learn letters, they should be able to differentiate between straight and curved lines or tall and short letters. They also need to understand the difference between letters, numbers, and other symbols. Children need to learn to notice the distinctive features of a letter; what makes it different from every other letter.

A fun way for your preschooler to learn the physical characteristics of the letters is through sorting activities using magnetic letters, lacing letters or foam letters.

Examples of ways to sort letters:

By circles/no circle:  circles1


By tall/short:  tall

Additional ways to sort letters are by:

  • slant (v, w, x) and straight (p, l, t, h, d) lines
  • upper and lower case,
  • tails (y, j, p, q) and no tails (m, r, s, w)
  • tunnels (h, n, u, m) and no tunnels (g, j, b, c, o, s)

After the sorting activities, you can reinforce your child’s letter knowledge by talking about the letters (“Yes, this letter is a tall letter! It’s the letter t. The letter t says /t/ like tiger.”)

Enjoy this time with your preschooler as you watch their knowledge of letters grow! They will not only learn the distinctive features of the letters, but also how to connect them with letter names and sounds.

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Tutoring Content Specialist

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