This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

READ USA Kicks Off “Touchdowns for Tomorrow”

  • Read USA Inc.
  • September 9 2022

The READ USA team is thrilled to celebrate the kickoff of “Touchdowns for Tomorrow,” a unique partnership we have with the Jacksonville Jaguars and TIAA Bank.

For every touchdown the Jacksonville Jaguars score this season, TIAA Bank will donate 100 books to READ USA. The books are distributed to elementary schools during the Jaguars’ Literacy Locker Room events, which will commence shortly, where Jaguars players read books to elementary students during surprise visits.

We are so grateful for the partnership with TIAA Bank and the Jacksonville Jaguars – and we join the rest of the #DUUUUUUVAL nation in wishing the Jaguars their best season yet!

We look forward to sharing more updates about this fabulous partnership soon!



READ USA Creating Tutor Ambassador Program

The READ USA team has been working to create new development opportunities for our tutors. These teenagers, who are earning a living wage as a READ USA Literacy Tutor, have facilitated tremendous growth not only in the elementary students they tutor, but within themselves as well. As such, READ USA has been identifying ways for tutors to develop additional life skills and support their pursuit of future careers. While the program is still in its early stages, we wanted to give a peek behind the curtain for our supporters.

“There is bi-directional learning that is taking place in READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring Program,” said Dr. Rudy Jamison, a READ USA Board Member who is playing an instrumental role in developing the Tutor Ambassador Program. “Not only are the elementary students improving their literacy skills, but the tutors are improving their life skills. We have recognized that while providing a living-wage job is great, it’s not quite enough – we must also tend to these tutors’ other needs.”

Dr. Jamison added, “Just how we support our elementary students with literacy coaching, we want to support our tutors with life-skills coaching. They need to know how a bank account works, how to find and best utilize a mentor, things of that nature. They need to be shown, what does employment and employability look like in the ‘real world’? How do they develop leadership skills? How do they best harness their skills and passions to choose the right career path? This is our purpose with the program: developing the ‘whole human’ versus just providing a job. It takes our Literacy Tutoring Program to a whole new level while still focusing on our core of improving literacy in our community.”

The READ USA team has been developing curriculum for the Tutor Ambassador Program, which will formally launch in the near future. We will have more to share soon!  

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THANK YOU to our Peace in the Pages Host Committee!

READ USA is incredibly grateful for the following individuals who are graciously serving on the Host Committee for our annual Peace in the Pages event, which is only one month away!

Ashley Szczukowski, Co-Chair

Sheila Cribb, Co-Chair

Anita Prewitt 

Angela Timberlake 

Carmen North 

Char Landen 

Christie Hill 

Cindy Stoddart Cooper

Connie Hodges 

Davalu Parrish 

Ellen Wiss 

Laura Phillips Edgecombe 

Loraine Rice 

Mari Ganues 

Marla Buchanan 

Mone Holder 

Rachael Mueller 

Sarah White 

Sheila Collier 

Sherry Magill 

Susan D. Brandenburg 

Traci Jenks 

Wanda Willis 

Whitney Calfee

Please join us in saying THANK YOU to these wonderful leaders in our community who are helping us close the literacy gap in Duval County and beyond!

Peace in the Pages event reminder!

October 7, 2022

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

TIAA Bank Field

Presented by Steve and Diane Halverson


Attendance to Peace in the Pages is currently reserved for our generous donors who support READ USA at $1,000 a year or more and their guests. NOW is the time to donate and reserve your seat! Click here to donate now.




by Carmen Agra Deedy

Children’s Book: 14 Cows for America

“This New York Times bestseller recounts the true story of the touching gift bestowed on the US by the Maasai people in the wake of the September 11 attacks.”

In June of 2002, just 9 months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on United States soil, a young man who experienced the devastation returned to his village in Western Kenya with a story for the ages. The Maasai people leapt into action to make an offering to the American men, women and children they worried about so deeply. An extraordinary offering, the small village gifted the American people with 14 cows. Accepted by the American diplomat of Kenya, the moving gift reached media outlets around the globe. The gift from Kenya was a symbol of friendship and hope.

“With stunning paintings from Thomas Gonzalez, master storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy (in collaboration with Naiyomah) hits all the right notes in this elegant story of generosity that crosses boundaries, nations, and cultures.” (Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 2022)

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director

Education Corner:


Retelling is a complex strategy that requires a student to have knowledge of many integrated parts of a text. They need to understand vocabulary, the structure of a text, and must have the ability to recall and summarize. Parents and teachers can help students sharpen these abilities by helping them practice retelling. Select your favorite book and get started today!

1.       Preview the book. Talk about the title and pictures with the child.

2.      Read the book. You can read the book, the student can read the book, or you can read it together.

3.      Ask the child to retell what they read. Don’t give too many hints or ask too many questions. The retelling will give you a good idea of what your student understood.

4.      Reread the book.

5.      Ask the child to retell again. This time, ask them to hold up one hand to do the five-finger retell. For this activity, they will use different fingers to represent five different parts of retelling the book: who (characters/key figures), what (conflict/key events), where (setting), when (also the setting), and why (resolution/motives). The child will point to each finger while retelling. If the student has trouble, encourage them to look back in the book for clues.