Thousands of books made available to children thanks to READ USA partnership

April 7, 2020 – More than 35,000 new children’s books have been made available to elementary school students in what is just the latest example of a school community partner stepping up for Duval’s children.

Over the course of last week, local nonprofit READ USA worked with district staff to distribute the books to the district’s 80 Title I elementary schools, where enrolled students can each receive one book.

“READ USA provides a brilliant example of what great partners do,” said Family and Community Engagement executive director Tia Leathers. “They anticipated the need and immediately came to us asking how they could help. Even during this tough time, keeping our students reading and growing is a top priority, and I am thankful to READ USA for stepping up to support that need .”

“We had to do something to help,” said READ USA co-founder Ellen Wiss. “READ USA’s partnership with the district and helping to support Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene with immediate needs for our children and parents is urgent. I know firsthand the impact book ownership has on children and their families. Given that students are at home learning remotely with their families, it’s more relevant timing to offer reading resources that may have even more positive impact!”

A variety of texts – in English and Spanish – were provided, including easy readers, picture books and traditional chapter books.

Examples of books include: Hair Love, a picture book based on the Oscar winning animated short film by author and former Jacksonville Jaguar, Matthew Cherry; Easy reader books from Mo Willems’s Elephant Piggy series; Night Animals – a nonfiction picture book by Gianna Marino; and traditional chapter books like Holes by Louis Sachar and Touchdown Kid by Tim Green.

Wiss said she hopes the donation provides an opportunity for the community to grow closer and support each other.

“When there is a need, we will respond,” said Wiss. “We stand tall with Team Duval.”

We invite any of our community partners who are interested in getting involved to visit www.duvalschools.org/FACE and complete the “Duval HomeRoom Partner Support” interest survey.

Our thanks to all of our community partners for your service to Duval’s children and families.