This Week at READ USA

Peace In The Pages

THANK YOU for Making Peace in the Pages a Wonderful Success!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • October 4 2023


Last week, READ USA had the honor of hosting 300+ of our dedicated sponsors, donors, volunteers, andPITP23 (14)_large supporters at our fifth annual 2023 Peace in the Pages event presented by David & Monique Miller.

To each of you who attended or has provided support to READ USA during the past year, let us extend our most sincere and appreciative THANK YOU for joining us and making the event a tremendous success! The energy in the room was palpable, and we are immeasurably grateful for your amplification of READ USA’s mission throughout our community.

We are especially thankful for our generous sponsors and donors – YOU help keep the READ USA engine humming and moving the needle on grade-level reading proficiency in our community:

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Congratulations again to our incredible award honorees for their lifelong dedication to uplifting literacy, education, and our youth throughout their careers and personal lives. We were honored to celebrate you!

  • READ to Lead Award: Betty Seabrook Burney, Founder and Board Chair of I’m a Star Foundation
  • READ to Succeed Award: Tim Cost, President of Jacksonville University
  • READ to be Free Award: Kevin Gay, Founder of Operation New Hope
  • READ to Heal Award: Nicole B. Thomas, Hospital President of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville
  • READ to Remember Award: Dr. Floyd Willis, Physician at Mayo Clinic
  • Marjorie Broward Memorial Award: Paula Findlay, Principal of Arlington Elementary School
  • Mark Landen Memorial Award for Democracy through Journalism: Mark Woods, Columnist for the Florida Times-Union

We are also grateful to Melanie Lawson, our Peace in the Pages emcee; our teen tutors, teacher, and volunteer, who eloquently shared their experiences; Kyle Reese, who provided our invocation; and Shelley Read, our inspiring keynote speaker, author, and lifelong educator. Thank you for sharing your light with the world!

Finally, it is our Presenting Sponsors David & Monique Miller who generously underwrote our Peace in the Pages program so 100% of sponsorships and contributions go to our research-based, multi-layered programming. You are both transformational leaders in our community and we beyond honored to earn your support.

Check out photos from Peace in the Pages! Feel free to share with your friends and family on your social media networks.

Thank you again for your support of READ USA throughout the entire year!

Join Jeremy on His Adventures: Books Available for Order!

Many of you met Jeremy, our fictional storyteller, when we introduced him to Jacksonville at the beginning of last year.

And now, his adventures with Jacksonville’s most well-known and inspirational leaders are available to order!

2023 Vol 9 Jeremys Journey Donna Deegan_large

For $20, you can now order any volume of Jeremy’s Journey! Or, for $240, you can order a full year’s volume set.

Click here to see the full list of published Jeremy’s Journey volumes and place your order today!

READ USA Joins The Learning Alliance in Vero Beach

Today, READ USA had the pleasure to join The Learning Alliance for an engaging and informative event in Vero Beach. Rob-Barbara-Tabetha_large

The Learning Alliance – who also joined us at Peace in the Pages last week! – is a Vero Beach-based organization on an ambitious mission to transform their community’s future by creating a culture in which 90% of elementary school students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. We love a mission focused on literacy and grade-level reading proficiency! And, READ USA is proud to collaborate with The Learning Alliance to share best practices and help Florida’s students achieve their absolute best potential – and we both believe it all starts with literacy!

In recent years, the School District of Indian River County has made notable progress in achieving grade-level reading proficiency through a focused, concerted effort on providing the right interventions and supports for elementary students. And today, the READ USA team joined a number of other organizations from across Florida for an insightful tour of two elementary schools, Vero Beach Elementary School and Rosewood Magnet School in Vero Beach. Our mutual goal was to both learn and share best practices, insights, and interventional strategies that are making headway in Indian River County’s classrooms and in READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program.

Rob during tour 1_large  Rob during tour 2_large

Many thanks to the wonderful leadership and highly effective teams at The Learning Alliance and the School District of Indian River County for inviting READ USA to join you all!               

Positions Available at READ USA

READ USA has opportunities for engaged, committed community members to join the READ USA team through several VISTA service positions!

Through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, members receive a living allowance, an education award, professional development training and support, and healthcare benefits by serving in a one-year support role.

READ USA has several opportunities help us grow and improve the lives of even more children and teens in our community:

  • Development Associate will support the sustainability of READ USA through partnership building with private funders and other development activities.
  • Logistics and Scaling Associate will provide logistical support to the READ USA Literacy Tutoring program and support expansion.
  • Grant and Proposal Writing Associate will seek out and apply for grant opportunities while helping maintain positive relationships with funders and stakeholders.
  • External Communications Associate will help enhance external communications by collaborating with the communications team to identify and pursue opportunities to creatively develop digital and printed content.
  • Volunteer Recruitment Associate will help develop and implement a comprehensive volunteer recruitment and management process.
  • Tutor Recruitment Associate will help develop and implement a comprehensive teen tutor recruitment and management process.

Interested to learn more? Visit the Apply section of our website:


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Children’s Book: The Smallest Girl in The Smallest Grade, by Justin Roberts

Illustrated by Christian Robinson smallestgirl_large

The Smallest Girl in The Smallest Grade is a beautifully illustrated picture book that empowers students to discover their own ways and to make a difference in the world. Sally, the smallest girl in her class, is the subject of this story. Sometimes, Sally is overlooked due to her quiet nature, but in the end, she makes a significant impact on her classmates and her school community.

Sally quietly watched her classmates and adults exhibit unkind behavior until one day she expressed her concern about the negative impact of bullying and the impact it has had on the school's culture.

This story is full of messages about bravery, courage, and leadership. When students receive the message about small acts of kindness, they begin to realize that bullying is not a normal or accepted behavior. The theme of this story is centered on kindness and acceptance, which moves us past exclusion and judgment. The Smallest Girl in The Smallest Grade is a great story to help prevent the spread of bullying.

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

Parent Education Corner: Hands on Activities for Practicing the Alphabetic Principle

Children’s knowledge of letter names and shapes is a strong predictor of their success in learning to read. The alphabetic principle is the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. Learning that there are predictable relationships between sounds and letters allows children to apply these relationships to both familiar and unfamiliar words, and to begin to read.

Here are five fun activities for practicing beginning word sounds.

  1. Label the house. Give your child a pad of post-it notes and a washable marker and tell him/her to label items in the home with the letter they start with. For example, b for books, t for table, d for door.
  2. Go on a scavenger hunt. Have your child roam around the house and look for items that start with a certain letter. For example, find everything in the house that starts with t (table, towel, tape, teddy).
  3. Find the letter relay. Foam bathtub letters are perfect for this. Put a basket of letters at one end of the house. Call out a word and have your child run to the basket, find the correct letter for the beginning sound, and run back. Burn off energy and practice letter sounds at the same time.
  4. Swat the letter. Foam bathtub letters work great for this activity. You will also need a fly swatter. To play the game, lay 5 or 6 of the foam letters on the floor at a time. Say the sound of one of the letters, then your child can SWAT it. Continue until he/she swats all the letters.
  5. Play I Spy. This activity is great because it can be played anywhere, it takes no preparation, and it can last as long or as short a time as needed. Take turns with your child. Choose an object that is in view and say “I spy with my little eye something that begins with b.” Your child gets 3 guesses, after each guess you answer yes or no, “Box,” “No,” “Banana,” “No,” “Basket,” “Yes”). You can give them the word or give clues to help them guess the word. Continue taking turns until the game ends.

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!