READ USA hosts Peace In The Pages today at TIAA Field

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — READ USA hosts Peace In The Pages on Friday, October 7, at TIAA Bank Field from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

READ USA is a non profit organization that remains “lazer focused on closing the reading gap.” Geared to students from under-resourced communities, READ USA provides “book choice, ownership, peer to peer tutoring, and multi-cultural literacy programming” as well as literacy development instruction for educators.

The local non profit strives to end generational poverty through learning through reading. In essence, READ USA strives to “move the needle to achieve grade-level reading proficiency, starting in Duval County.”

The annual event, now in its fourth year presented by Steve and Diane Halverson, recognizes local leaders for their contributions in advocating the importance and power of literacy. The event will also be held virtually via Zoom.

Peace In The Pages honors local leaders who have positively impacted literacy in our community,” said Dr. Rob Kelly, chief executive officer for READ USA. “READ USA believes that through the ability to read, anyone can achieve true freedom and personal growth. Literacy is the most essential skillset to achieving our children’s full potential.”

Peace In The Pages will also share positive programming updates and teacher and student testimonials for READ USA’s Literacy Tutoring Programs. “Evaluators” from Ohio State University will present analytical data showing improvements for grade-level reading proficiency for Duval County students.

The Jacksonville Arts and Music School (JAMS) and adults from San Jose Elementary School will “deliver vocal and spoken word performances.”

The Peace In The Pages award winners include:

  • Florida Times-Union Reporter, Beth Reese Cravey, Mark Landen Memorial Award for Democracy through Journalism.
  • North Shore Elementary School Principal, Felicia W. Hardaway, Marjorie Broward Memorial Scholarship Award.
  • Duval County Court Judge-Elect, Audrey Moran, Read to Lead Award.
  • Jeff Chartrand, Read to Heal Award.
  • Duval County Court Judge, Rhonda Peoples-Waters, Read to Succeed Award.
  • Dr. Jim Crooks and Laura Crooks, Read to Remember Award.
  • Duval County School Board Member, The Honorable Warren Jones, Read to be Free Award.

Duval County’s George Washington Carver Elementary School teacher Vanessa Tussey and Ellen Wiss a volunteer in her classtoom, spearheaded READ USA to initiate “transformational change” in one of the County’s most severely impoverished neighborhoods.

Tussey said that she realized students needed books that inspired them to read.

“Books they can choose and own,” she said. “Reading is key to learning.”

The duo raised enough funds to host a book fair with thousands of “new, popular and culturally sensitive titles that every student could choose to build their home libraries.”

With increasing demand and support READ USA book fairs expanded to every public elementary school in Duval County.

According to READ USA, in 2019, a grant from Jacksonville’s Kids Hope Alliance enabled READ USA to pilot an intensive research-based Peer to Peer reading tutoring program that offered teens training, supervision and professional workforce development skills.

“One on one tutoring resulted in significant reading gains by both the teen tutors and the students they taught,” they said.

Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida, and Ohio State University are now on board to evaluate the “program’s evidence-based positive outcomes.” READ USA now provides year-round teen tutoring.

READ USA - Mission Statement: The Literacy Tutoring Program is one pillar of READ USA’s research-based, multi-layered approaches to solving the literacy crisis in our country. In addition to the Literacy Tutoring Program, READ USA also focuses on Book Choice and Ownership, Multicultural Literacy Programming, and Literacy Professional Development for Educators.

For more information or to donate, visit www.readusainc.com

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti is a seasoned journalist, photojournalist, and published author and works as a reporter for WOKV News. Lucia is a graduate of the University of West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism.