This Week at READ USA

Book Choice and Ownership

READ USA Attends TEACH Conference

  • Read USA Inc.
  • March 2 2023

READ USA had the honor to attend the TEACH Conference – a conference for teachers, created by teachers – last weekend at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. TEACH is intended to engage, empower, and inspire educators by sharing ideas and learning new ways to engage students.

Our Literacy Tutoring Program Director Tabetha Cox and Book Programs Director Nahume Mosby both participated in a number of activities, including breakout sessions on children’s mental health, vocabulary acquisition of English Language Learners, and the importance of having an engaging teacher who loves their profession as much as they love their students. Our team also heard from several keynote speakers who are experts in their fields:

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  • Ralph Smith, Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, who spoke about equity of learning through allocation and collaboration of resources.
  • Sonia Manzano – who played Maria on Sesame Street from 1971 to 2015 – spoke about the importance of reading across cultures and genres. She received a standing ovation from the audience during her inspiring remarks about diversity (paraphrased):


“The more diverse the population, the more problem-solving there has to be. The solutions will be better when the person next to you doesn’t have the same situation as you. It means we have more outlooks to ponder… More viewpoints to consider… They bring another set of thoughts to the table.”

We are so grateful to have participated alongside so many exceptional educators from across the First Coast! Many thanks to WJCT Public Media and VyStar Credit Union for hosting and sponsoring the 2023 TEACH Conference.

READ USA Distributes Free Books at Youth-Led Mental Health Summit

This past weekend, READ USA’s CEO Dr. Rob Kelly had the privilege to participate in the I’m A Star Foundation’s annual Youth-Led Mental Health Summit and distribute more than 200 FREE new children’s and young adult books. We love any opportunity to meet students, educators, and parents who share a love of reading and their community – and again we were inspired by the people attending and all that they had to share and learn!

The Summit took place at Biscayne Elementary School in north Jacksonville and was hosted in partnership with the Mental Health Awareness Committee of the Gamma Rho Omega (AKA Sorority). The event featured workshops for both students and parents, vendors, and mental health experts.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to participate! Thank you to the I’m A Star Foundation and its founder, former DCPS Board Member Betty Burney, for the invitation for READ USA and Dr. Kelly to join you during this important event!

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Children’s Book: We Laugh Alike / JUNTOS nos reímos, by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand


Illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

We Laugh Alike / JUNTOS nos reímos is a story of three friends who meet up on a playground. Soon another trio of friends arrive. They want to play together and realize that one trio speaks only English while the other trio of kids speak Spanish. Can they discover a way to play anyway? This is a book that shows our similarities, regardless of language differences. The children quickly realize they can tell a lot through movement, facial expressions, and especially how they laugh alike! Joy and other emotions need no formal language. We Laugh Alike / JUNTOS nos reímos is written in English and Spanish so that English- and Spanish-speaking children can leave the story with meaning, and the idea that different is okay. Different is exciting. Different is a welcome challenge. Different helps us break down barriers and open our eyes to new opportunities.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, Tutoring Program Director