This Week at READ USA

Literacy Tutoring

READ USA Teen Tutor Speaks at Joint DCPS-City Council Meeting

  • Read USA Inc.
  • November 15 2023


On Monday, READ USA participated in a joint meeting with DCPS and City Council officials, which covered a variety of topics in addition to literacy – and in our opinion, our teen tutor Nyzair Blake stole the show!


During the meeting, our CEO Dr. Rob Kelly and DCPS Chief Academic Officer Paula Renfro presented to the elected groups about the impact and results of READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program, demonstrating how it is improving grade-level reading proficiency.

Nyzair, who has been a READ USA tutor since last year, addressed the impact that being a teen tutor has had on him and the students he tutors. “We are securing the future, by not just teaching a child how to read, but how to love learning,” Nyzair told Action News Jax.

We are so grateful to both News4JAX and Action News Jax for interviewing Nyzair and sharing his perspective with the people of Jacksonville! (You can click on both links to watch their stories online.)

Thank you, Nyzair, for joining READ USA to discuss the power of Literacy Tutoring! We are so grateful for ALL our teen tutor rock stars who are doing essential, daily work to help elementary students succeed.

Literacy Locker Room at San Jose Elementary

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been busy on the field AND in elementary schools across Duval County!

Yesterday, the students at San Jose Elementary School received something special during our Literacy

Locker Room event: a chance to meet two Jaguars players and students in all grade levels went home with FREE, brand-new books to keep!

We are so grateful for the support of our partner, the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, and our sponsor, Whataburger, for making this special day possible.

In addition to distributing free books, Jacksonville Jaguars players #57 Caleb Johnson and #91 Dawuane Smoot read aloud to students alongside members of the Jacksonville Roar. And, of course, Jaxson de Ville worked his usual enthusiastic magic to bring smiles to all of the students’ faces!

Plus, San Jose Elementary Principal Jasmin Esparza Gomez, our 2021 Peace in the Pages honoree for the Marjorie Broward Memorial Scholarship Award, used her award so that students in Pre-K through second grade could also receive free books during the event. (Fun fact: Principal Gomez was also the subject of a Jeremy’s Journey book from last year!)

Many thanks to everyone at the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and Whataburger who joined us yesterday and, more importantly, for your ongoing commitment to closing the literacy gap. And thank you to our READ USA Board Member Jordan Hooten for participating in the fun as well!

Check out some of the photos from yesterday’s event below.


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#ICYMI: Do You Know a Champion for Literacy? Tell Us!

In case you missed it last week, for the first time ever, READ USA is accepting community nominations for our 2024 Peace in the Pages Award Honorees!

Do you know someone who is a champion for literacy in our community? Who embodies the values of empathy, peace, non-violence, health, education, freedom, leadership, and success – and those values connections’ to literacy? Tell us who!

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Click here to read more about the seven award honoree categories and nominate an individual.

Save The Date: 2024 Peace in the Pages

  • October 2, 2024
  • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • EverBank Stadium

Nominate Today

Children’s Book: Something, Someday, by Amanda GormanSomethingSomday_large

Something, Someday is a beautifully illustrated picture book that tells the story of a little boy who wants to make change in his community. It is the message of hope that our society so desperately needs. Something, Someday reveals how the smallest gesture can have a lasting impact.

In the story, the little boy observes how litter and trash have impacted the quality and appearance of his neighborhood. He is concerned because he does not want his neighborhood to become an area that is run-down. The boy is told that the trash in the neighborhood is too big of a job for him to take on, but he doesn’t stop at that. He knew there was something he could do even if it was a small gesture. He began to recruit help from people in the neighborhood who came together and transformed the landscape of the neighborhood.

The illustrations in this prolific short story play off the words of the author indicating that we all have the power to make a difference and even the smallest gestures can help create change. With a little help from a friend, together we can find solutions to make a difference in the world.

Submitted by Dr. Barbara Lacey-Allen, Book Programs & Family Engagement Director


Parent Education Corner: Tips for Supporting Your Child with Fluency

Fluency is defined as the ability to read with accuracy, good speed, and appropriate expression. Children who do not read with fluency can sound choppy or awkward when reading aloud. Those children may have trouble with decoding skills, or they may just need more practice with speed and smoothness in reading.


Fluency is also important for motivation; children who find reading laborious tend not to want to read! As children get older, fluency becomes increasingly important. Students whose reading is labored will have trouble meeting the reading demands of their grade level.


So, how can you help? Here are some suggestions:

  • Support and encourage your child. Realize that he or she is likely feeling frustrated by reading.
  • Read aloud to your child to provide an example of how fluent reading sounds.
  • Provide your child with books with predictable vocabulary and clear rhythmic patterns so the child can “hear” the sound of fluent reading as he or she reads the book aloud. (Books to build fluency: Pete the Cat, Green Eggs and Ham, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day).
  • Let your child read their favorite books and poems over and over again. Have them practice getting smoother and reading with expression.
  • If your child can decode words well, help him or her build speed and accuracy by:
    • Reading aloud and having your child match his or her voice to yours
    • Having your child practice reading the same list of words, phrase or short passage several times
    • Reminding your child to pause between sentences and phrases

Submitted by Kathi Hart, Content Specialist

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

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