This Week at READ USA

Multicultural Literacy

Thank You, Tutors & Volunteers!

  • Read USA Inc.
  • December 6 2023

So much happened this past weekend at READ USA! Nearly 100 teen tutors and volunteers joined us at the Schultz Center as part of our Literacy Tutoring and Workforce Development programs for a weekend of learning and growth.

On Saturday, we hosted our teen tutors for a Mock Interview Day where they had the opportunity to practice their interview skills. We had professionals from all sorts of industries and backgrounds volunteer to serve as mock interviewers to help our teen tutors boost confidence and refine how they present themselves professionally. Our volunteers expressed how much they enjoyed meeting with our teen tutors and helping set them up for future success, and we are so grateful to every volunteer – and tutor! – who joined us on Saturday!

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We also hosted over 50 new and returning teen tutors and teachers for their two-day Literacy Tutoring training this weekend. Our Literacy Tutoring training is intensive – covering everything from lesson implementation to student engagement and much more – and these teens and teachers embraced these learnings enthusiastically! Our peer-to-peer tutoring model is also designed to cultivate social-emotional skills in both the teen tutors and elementary students, and we are so excited to see the progress that ALL of these exceptional individuals will make in the coming months!

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100 Options to Choose From

Our sponsors provide essential funding support for all of READ USA’s programming that delivers high-interest books and high-quality teaching to elementary students across Duval County. While all sponsors receive benefits from their support, our READ USA Literacy Partners and above get something extra special:

The opportunity to choose a school and put YOUR name on it!

Every spring, READ USA hosts free Book Fairs at all 100 DCPS elementary schools, providing every student – even if they are absent that day! – with the opportunity to choose free books to keep.

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Literacy Partner sponsors and above are entitled to exclusive opportunities to enhance your visibility by being a “READ USA Book Fair Sponsor for [School Name].” At that same school, Literacy Partners can opt to provide further support through read-alouds, volunteer opportunities for family or team members, and more.

NOW is the time to sponsor and select the elementary school of your choice!

Become a Sponsor!

To discuss your sponsorship with READ USA, please contact CEO Dr. Rob Kelly at

Teen Job Alert: Become a Tutor, Change a Life

Calling all teens who are passionate about their community and uplifting others!

Being a teen tutor in READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring program provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to improve the lives of elementary students who are struggling to read. Teen tutors receive robust training that covers how to deliver a reading lesson, how to engage students in the material, and many other topics (see our other article in today’s newsletter!) so teen tutors are fully prepared for the task at hand.

PLUS – they earn $15/hour and can receive free transportation to and from work if needed!

READ USA is seeking teens and young adults aged 16-25 who can work up to 9 hours per week from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If you know anyone who could be interested, send them our way!

Apply Today

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Jeremy’s Winter Festival is in Full Swing: Join Us!

Yesterday, Jeremy – our fictional namesake of our Jeremy’s Journey children’s book series – visited the wonderful students at Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary School in Baldwin to kick off his Jeremy’s Winter Festival events. And what a winter wonderland it truly was!

Every elementary student at Mamie Agnes Jones went home yesterday with a brand-new drawstring bag filled with books and other goodies to enjoy, just in time for the holiday season.

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Join us for the next events! Now through December 20th, Jeremy and the READ USA team will visit six more elementary schools to distribute 2,600+ backpacks filled with books. Volunteers are needed for two time slots, either 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at the following schools:

  • This Friday, Dec. 8: Arlington Elementary
  • Dec. 11: Long Branch Elementary
  • Dec. 14: Hogan-Spring Glen Elementary
  • Dec. 15: Beauclerc Elementary
  • Dec. 18: Lake Lucina Elementary
  • Dec. 20: S.A. Hull Elementary

To volunteer at any of the schools, please click here.

Many thanks to our volunteers’ support, and to the wonderful teachers and staff at Mamie Agnes Jones for such a warm welcome and, most importantly, for the opportunity to bring a little winter joy to these budding young students!

Children’s Book: Snowballs, by Lois Ehlert

Snowballs can be referred to as a true winter classic. Although, young readers in Jacksonville maySnowballs_large not have much of a real-world connection with this book!

Snowballs is a book first published in the late 1990’s and stands the test of time. The author takes readers on a visual and linguistic journey from the time a cardinal realizes snow is on the way because he can’t find the seeds he stashed for later until there is enough snow to build a cool snow family! Finally, we see the progression of snow as it soon disappears. Written as a nonfiction text, this book contains special text features, real photographs of household items used to decorate snow, a glossary, and even a recipe to try later after reading!

Maybe a Jacksonville child can relate to this story by using the sand we have here? What kind of families can children build with sand and things from around the house? Even though we don’t have snow, we can still encourage winter fun and connection to this sweet story.

Submitted by Tabetha Cox, M. Ed., Chief Programs Officer


Parent Education Corner: Reading Aloud with Toddlers

We READ ALOUD so toddlers can:

  • Continue to associate reading and books with warm, pleasant feelings while learning about words and language.
  • Expand their listening skills.
  • Build their vocabulary with words they understand and can use.
  • Begin creating pictures in their minds while listening to stories.
  • Begin understanding a few print concepts, such as pictures and print are symbols for real things, and that we read words, not pictures.
  • Have fun!

Choose books toddlers like:

  • Toddlers are learning to cope with feelings. Look for books with characters handling typical emotions and experiences.
  • Toddlers feel competent when they can participate. Read books with rhymes and predictable words they can remember.
  • Toddlers can pay attention—for a while—if they are interested. Read wordless picture books and storybooks with brief, simple plots and only a few words per page.
  • Toddlers are curious. Read books about special interests and books about new people, places, and events.
  • Toddlers are doers. Read books with flaps to lift and textures to feel.

Try these ideas:

  • Read the same books again and again, if asked. A toddler will let you know when he or she has had enough of a book.
  • Read slowly so the toddler can make sense of what’s happening in a story.
  • Vary your voice to fit the characters and plot.
  • Repeat interesting words and phrases.
  • Stop often to comment, ask questions, and look closely at the illustrations.
  • Encourage a toddler to join in: turn pages, name things in pictures, make sounds, repeat rhymes and phrases, and think about what might happen next.
  • Talk about the pictures and point out details a toddler might miss.
  • Talk about the book and how it relates to a toddler’s real-life experiences.

From Reading Aloud with Toddlers © Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.

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!